Manuel Noriega

Military Leader of Panama

Drug Dealing Dictator

Manuel Noriega was born in 1938. Given up for adoption at the age of five. Noriega grew up wanting to attend medical school but his family had no money. He attended military school and was an outstanding student. In 1969 He aided in a coup to remove President Arias helping Torrijos take power. Noriega quickly became a friend to the United States government. Noriega became head of G2 Panama's military intelligence command and useful a useful ally to the CIA, although he was heavily involved in drug trafficking. He was such a dangerous criminal that a US Drug Enforcement officer suggested to President Nixon that Noriega should be assassinated. When Torrijos died in a suspicious plane crash in 1981, Noriega made himself general and used his army to terrorize the people into following his corrupt policies. Noriega remained a friend to the US for ten years. The CIA paid him $2 million for his help over the years. But in 1987 Noriega lost support from the US as his criminal activity became so outrageous that it could not be ignored. December of 1989 24,000 US troops invaded Panama and arrested him. He was sentenced to 40 years in a US prison. He also served time in France and Panama.

Noriega Waves a Machete While Making a Speech

A Beast Unleashed

Manuel Noriega is seen in this video making a political speech. While he speaks he holds a machete in the air and violently moves it while shouting. He a appears very angry and his speech is extremely hostile. This is a good example his style of leadership. Noriega ruled with fear and brutality and enforced his rules with the power of his army. Holding a weapon while making a speech shows his brutality.

Letter by Noriega to the people of Panama

The Americans call me a criminal and drug dealer. They say that I am a gun-runner, a money launderer and a drug-trafficker. None of this is true. I have worked with the CIA for more than 10 years. I have been very loyal to the US. They are betraying me and want to see this country fall. They will send their soldiers to arrest me and many of our own citizens may be killed. I ask you, my friends, to stop this invasion. You must protect me after all I have done for you and our country. Do not think about double crossing me because I will find you and you will be taken care of. Not one person who has ever betrayed me has lived to see the sun rise another day.

Did the United States have the right to invade Panama and arrest Manuel Noriega?