Monday, 23 October, 2017

Panama's feared dictator and ex-US ally Noriega dies

Panama's feared dictator and ex-US ally Noriega dies Panama's feared dictator and ex-US ally Noriega dies
Melody Ballard | 07 June, 2017, 18:45

Varela added, "His daughters and his relatives deserve to mourn in peace". Noriega asked a reporter during a jailhouse interview in the early '90s.

Government communications secretary Manuel Dominguez told AFP that Noriega died late Monday.

He said the burial would be a private family affair and gave no further details.

As Critica reports, Noriega was extradited to Panama in 2011 after serving more than 20 years in jail in the USA and France for drug trafficking and money laundering.

Noriega had been transferred to house arrest in Panama City on January 29 to prepare for a procedure to remove a benign brain tumor. But the government rejected their appeals.

Though dates vary, Noriega was most likely born in 1934. Under the judge's instructions, they were told not to consider the political side of the case - including whether the US had the right to invade Panama and bring Noriega to trial in the first place.

Initially he reacted with defiance as the US imposed economic sanctions created to drive him from power.

Noriega's trial in 1991 was dubbed the drugs "trial of the century" by the US Drug Enforcement Administration and eventually saw him found guilty on eight counts and sentenced to 40 years in jail.

As the decade wore on, the CIA paid Noriega for information even as Noriega climbed the ranks of his own country's military intelligence division, ultimately becoming its chief officer and one of the principal lieutenants of Panama's strongman at the time, Omar Torrijos. 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.

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In 1989, Noriega was indicted in the United States on charges of racketeering, laundering drug money and drug trafficking.

A US Senate sub-committee once described Washington's relationship with Noriega as one of the United States' most serious foreign policy failures. U.S. invaded the country in 1989 and ended his rule.

After his removal, he spent time in prison in France, U.S. and finally in his home country, where he was convicted for murder in 2011, for crime committed during his time in power.

While in prison he was convicted in absentia in France of money laundering and sentenced to seven years.

He spent the rest of his life in custody, latterly in Panama for murder, corruption and embezzlement.

"Because I said no".

In 2015 Noriega issued a blanket apology "to anybody who felt offended, affected, prejudiced or humiliated by my actions".

Campaigners for victims of the military regime say he has taken secrets to his grave.

Then to the death of Panamanian dictator Maneul Noriega: Missing in some of the brief news accounts about Noriega is that Noriega was "our stooge" for awhile. on the CIA's payroll, seen as an opponent of the Sandinistas in Nicaragua.

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