Manuel Noriega, Ousted Panamanian Dictator, Is Dead at 83

Manuel Noriega, Ousted Panamanian Dictator, Is Dead at 83

Noriega also helped the US seize drug loads at sea and track money laundering in Panama's banks, and reported on guerrilla and terrorist activities. No to allowing the United States to run a school for dictators [the USA military's School of the Americas] any longer in Panamanian territory.

Manuel Noriega ayaa ku geeriyoodey Isbitaal ku yaala Panama isaga oo ah 83 sano jir.

Two years after Torrijos died in a mysterious plane crash in 1981, Noriega became the head of the armed forces and Panama's de facto ruler.

The cause of death, which was announced on Twitter by Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela, was not immediately known.

"The most surprising thing in the life of Manuel Antonio Noriega was what he did to the (military) institution, making it an instrument, a macabre combination of crime and drug trafficking", said a former National Guard general, Ruben Dario Paredes, who used to be Noriega's commanding officer and who is now a critic.

"I apologize to anyone who feels offended, affected, harmed or humiliated by my actions or those of my superiors whilst carrying out orders, or those of my subordinates, during the time of my civilian and military government", Noriega said.

President Bush then launched an invasion of the country when Noriega was indicted on drug trafficking charges. Noriega's headquarters, behind the residential high-rise in the foreground, was one of the first targets for the USA military in their offensive.

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Noriega had been serving prison time for murder and forced disappearances during his dictatorship, and was being held in a prison cell overlooking the Panama Canal.

Noriega was reportedly recruited onto the Central Intelligence Agency payroll in 1967, the year before he took part in a 1968 coup against then-president Arnulfo Arias.

He refused the chance to appeal the decision and flew out of Paris on 11 December 2011, escorted by a team of Panamanian officials and a doctor.

The Reagan administration sought Noriega's help in 1983 after the United States invaded Grenada, where a Marxist-led coup had toppled the government.

According to testimony by former US officials, his assistance was crucial to advancing USA foreign policy interests in South America in the 1980s. He served 17 years before being extradited into 2010 to France, where he had been convicted of money laundering.

He served 17 years in prison in the US, then returned to Panama in 2011 to serve sentences after being convicted on murder, corruption and embezzlement charges in France and Panama. Pastor, who died in 2014, said Gen. Noriega's "provocative behavior also brought out the worst in the United States".

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