Manuel Noriega

The man of Panama!


Born as Manuel Antonio Noriega Morena in Panama City. As a kid, Noriega studied at the city's top high school where he later planned to obtain a medical degree but due to financial reasons, he was forced to leave. Noriega had achieved a scholarship to Peru's military school of Chorrios, after completion, he later received commission to Panamanian National Guard where he quickly rose to protege of Capt. Omar Torrijos. When Torrijos took power, Noriega was ultimately deemed his successor. After Torrijos died in a plane crash, Noriega took power of the military then later became president when the current president was ousted. Noriega disregarded all of Torrijo's reforms and received millions of dollars from the United States because of their close connections. Although he had support and aid, Noriega ran a corrupt government where he primarily focused on drug trafficking. Noriega is responsible for thousands of unresolved murders especially his opponents. Noriega is known for most of his opponents disappearing mysteriously. He began to lose U.S. support and the U.S ultimately decided to try and rid Noriega from power. Eventually he fled to the U.S where he was captured and imprisoned for 30 before being released in 2007. then he was sent to France where he is serving 7 years due to investing three million dollars in drug money. He was let out and sent back to Panama where he is charged with three accounts of human rights violations and is currently serving in prison.

Video Analysis

In this video, people are awaiting the arrival of Manuel Noriega from his flight from France. The reporter is speaking of the reasons why Noriega has been away and where he has been. When people got the word of Noriega coming back, only to be imprisoned, there was a rush of excitement and relief from fellow Panamanians. People had felt Noriega needed to be punished for all of the people who had been murdered by him, or because of him. Panamanians wanted justice. In Panama, after 77, you may serve the rest of your sentence at home on house arrest. People were outraged, they felt Noriega should die in prison for all the pain he had caused Panama and its people.

Creative Piece

December 20th 1990

It happened.

The United States had stepped in today, Journal. My husband, is gone. They had tried over and over to stop him. Manuel thought his power was limitless. My husband, my money, my home, it is all gone. It is time to go now. We are currently waiting for the foreign ministry to give us our safe conduct passage. Perhaps we could go to Cuba, or maybe the Dominican. I do not want to leave without him though. Journal you must understand! I'd go to the villages in the mountains and to the poorest areas of Panama to collect cent by cent the dollars my husband needs to pay for his defense. What is a women to do? Do i stay here and help my husband and risk death? I have three daughters, a son in law, and a new grand baby that I must put first. I have to. I just do not trust America's justice system! Journal, please, hear me out. I need help! Too much is happening too fast. I shall leave with my family, but I will remember my sweet husbands laughter, and the warmth i felt when I stroked my thumb across his cheek. My husband will return one day, and i shall wait for him. Justice will be served. Until then, I'm gone in search of a new unwilling life.

Yours truly,


Essential Question

Out of all the characteristics that make up a dictator, what qualifications did Manuel Noriega possess to be the ruthless dictator he was?


"Manuel Noriega." World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO, 2013. Web. 27 Mar. 2013

"The U.S. and Panama: Passage; Noriega's Wife and Daughters Ask to Leave - New York Times." The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2013.