Panama Ex-Dictator Noriega Dead at 83

Panama Ex-Dictator Noriega Dead at 83Panama Ex-Dictator Noriega Dead at 83

Panama’s former dictator, Manuel Noriega, a onetime US ally who was ousted as Panama’s dictator by an American invasion in 1989, died late Monday at age 83.

Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela wrote in his Twitter account that “the death of Manuel A. Noriega closes a chapter in our history”, CBC reported.

Varela added that his daughters and relatives deserve to mourn in peace.

Noriega ruled with an iron fist, ordering the deaths of those who opposed him and maintaining a murky, close and conflictive relationship with the United States.

“At the apex of his power, he wielded great influence outside the country as well, thanks to longstanding relationships with spy agencies around the world,” said R.M. Koster, an American novelist and biographer of Noriega who has lived in Panama for decades.

After his downfall, Noriega served a 17-year drug sentence in the United States, then was sent to face charges in France. He spent all but the last few months of his final years in a Panamanian prison for the murder of political opponents during his 1983-89 regime.

Noriega accused Washington of a “conspiracy” to keep him behind bars and tied his legal troubles to his refusal to cooperate with a US plan aimed at toppling Nicaragua’s leftist Sandinista government in the 1980s.

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