Noriega was in the Panama National Guard in 1967 and promoted to lieutenant in 1968. He was allegedly part of the military coup that removed Arnulfo Arias from power. In the power struggle that followed, including a failed coup attempt in 1969, Noriega supported Torrijos. He received a promotion to lieutenant colonel and was appointed chief of military intelligence by Torrijos. Noriega earned a reputation of the most feared man in the country because of his ruthless actions and how he made political opponents disappear. He took command of the army in 1983. He would not give power back to the people and also engaged in election fraud, drug trafficking, money laundering, espionage against the United States and even murder. Noriega killed people who opposed him. Even at peaceful rallies many people were beaten severely, incarcerated, and killed during the protests. The united states wanted Noriega to step down but it was ineffective. He became unpopular in the American press and it was discovered he was on the U.S. payroll for 30 years. He had been working as a double agent, collecting money from the United States, while at the same time working for Communist governments. He turned over highly classified U.S. intelligence materials to Cuba. The U.S. ordered his arrest in 1989 and in 1992 he was found guilty and sentenced to 4o years in prison.

The Rise and Fall of Manuel Noriega

The Rise and Fall of Manuel Noriega

Noriega had his time at the top as ruler of Panama. During his reign he was a drug trafficker and worked behind the United States back. The video shows how he was popular among his people. He is at a rally and people are cheering for him. He was a military strongman. Once his crimes were discovered the U.S. sent military in to arrest him. He was found guilty of drug smuggling and sentenced to 40 years.

A Poem of Noriega


The leader of Panama

Theres a lot to tell

This man was an animal

He belongs in a cell

He trafficked drugs and sold them to kids

Illegal actions that were very wrong

And hid it from the government by telling fibs

America found out after a time that was long

They wanted him out of power and the U.S. had dibs

Soldiers went invaded and got him arrested

He was flown to America

For imprisonment he got tested

40 years of jail for Noriega

Essential Question

How did Noriega's power affect the U.S. and his country in such a bad way that he was forced out of power?