From dictator to detainee: Noriega’s turbulent past

The late Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, who rose to power while working for the CIA, ruled ruthlessly 1983-1989 and was ousted by a US military invasion.

Noriega, 83, died late Monday in a Panama City hospital as he was recovering from surgery to remove a brain tumor.

Here are some notable moments of Noriega’s life:

February 11, 1934: Noriega is born to a poor family in Panama City’s Guachimango district. He goes on to graduate from a military academy in Peru and embarks on a military career.

1968: Participates in a coup that ousts president Arnulfo Arias, and backs popular strongman general Omar Torrijos. Around this time Noriega reportedly goes onto the CIA’s payroll. Torrijos makes him chief of Panama’s military intelligence.

1983: Noriega takes command of the National Guard and becomes Panama’s de facto ruler, two years after Torrijos dies in a mysterious plane crash.

December 20, 1989: US forces invade Panama to oust Noriega, accusing him of drug trafficking. Noriega takes refuge in the Vatican embassy for 10 days, then surrenders to the US soldiers, who take him to the United States.

1992: A US court sentences Noriega to 40 years prison for drug trafficking. The sentence is later cut to 17 years.

April 2010: Noriega is extradited to France, where he faces charges of laundering $3 million from the Medellin drug cartel through French banks.

July 2010: A French court sentences Noriega to seven years in prison.

December 11, 2011: France extradites Noriega to Panama, where he was sentenced in absentia to three 20-year prison sentences for the murder of opponent Hugo Spadafora and military commander Moises Giroldi, and for killing rebellious soldiers trying to overthrow him in what became known as the Albrook massacre.

January 28, 2017: A Panama court agrees to temporarily release Noriega to house arrest to prepare for surgery to remove a benign brain tumor. The ex-dictator’s family and lawyers say he has suffered strokes, respiratory problems, prostate cancer and depression.

March 7, 2017: Doctors remove the brain tumor, but complications lead to cerebral bleeding. Following a second operation doctors put him in an induced coma.

May 29, 2017: Noriega dies at the San Tomas public hospital.

Related Articles

Back to top button