Manuel Noriega

"Drugs, Money, and Death." - Newsweek

- Timeline -

First Steps

After he was born on February 11th 1934 in a Panama City barrio, Noriega soon started to study at the city's top high school. He grew up in a poor environment but got a scholarship to Peru's Military School of Chorrios and took classes at the School of the Americas. Teachers described him as outstanding, clever, and unscrupulous. He was interested in politics and because of his U.S. intelligence he soon played a key role in many political and military actions in Panama.

Political Rise

Noriega supported his mentor Omar Torrijos and received a promotion to lieutenant colonel and chief of military intelligence. After Torrijos suspicious death in 1981 the resulting struggle brought him more power as the leader of the army. Noriega didnt waste time and promoted himself to the rank of general. The fact that his chosen candidate who acted in his favor won the presidency made Noriega Panama's leader, although he wasn't the actual president. He tried to remain a strong ally with the United States for most of the time.

Two Faced Leadership

Even before he was Panama's dictator, Noriega made sure political opponents would "dissapear". He also engaged in election fraud, drug trafficking, money laundering, espionage, and even murder. His leadership soon made him the most hated man of the country, and after Torrijos death he gave no sign of willingness to return the power to civil control or building a new, organized government. Noriega replaced all of the reformist programs with his own corrupt and repressive regime and pressured the president as the leader of the army. He had been working on two fronts, keeping up the friendship to the United States and collecting money from them while working for communist governments from the east and Latin America at the same time.

The Fall

When Noriegas actions in panama got more outrageous, the United States stopped supporting his regime. They wanted to get him out of office now, and were starting to charging him for drug trafficking and money laundering. US authorities ordered his arrest in 1989 and 24,000 US soldiers invaded panama to capture him. This invasion left hundreds of civilians dead, and Noriega surrendered after hiding for days. Since then, he doesn't live in freedom anymore. He got deported to the United States, and after finishing his prison term in September 2007 he was extradited to France. Now, panama pushes for his extradition to his home country, where he faces three convictions on human rights violations.
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- Global Impact-

When Noriega was captured by the United States, US soldiers didn't make a big deal out of that. US officials sent 24,000 men to Panama, just to get Manuel Noriega. Over 400 people died. But nobody ever questioned the action and the fact that the United States were confident enough to just walk in a country and charge their president. Why?

- News Footage -

Noriega Capture News Footage


This video is about Noriega getting arrested after betraying the United States Government. He was a double agent, telling the US that he was protecting democracy in Latin America, but behind their backs he was trafficking drugs to the youths of America. He was a cocky, manipulative but intelligent leader which put him in the position of arrest.

- Poem -

Drugs, Money and Death

When life gives you lemons,

you make lemonade.

When life gives you coca leaves,

you make cocaine.

From beginning to end,

I was the best of the best.

Becoming supreme leader,

and selling drugs to all the rest.

If anyone opposed me,

I didn’t care.

When they where flying in a plane

I shot them out of the air

I met with big world leaders

In a year, once or twice,

Even Fidel Castro,

who’s actually quite nice.

Panama’s my home,

and the place I used to rule.

But now I’m here in prison

and that aint really cool.

- Thoughts -