Manuel Noriega



Manuel Antonio Noriega was born in the poor section of Panama City in 1934 to a maid, his mother, and accountant, his father. When he was just five years old, he was given up for adoption and his aunt rescued him. He later attended the National Institute and later accepted a scholarship to the Chorrios Military Academy in Peru. He graduated from there in 1962 with an engineering degree and later returned to become a sublieutenant in the Panamanian National Guard. In 1983, Manuel Noriega unified the armed forces into the Panamanian Defense Forces and promoted himself to the rank of the general and became the de facto leader of Panama. When 1989 came along, Noriega cancelled all presidential elections within Panama and strived to rule through a puppet government. After a military coup against Noriega failed, the United States invaded Panama causing Manuel Noriega to surrender in 1990. Manuel was arrested and remains in custody today.

Sir Manuel Noriega,

My name is Emily Sabean and today's date is June 12 of 1986. I am a eighth grade student with a twin brother and younger sister living in Panama City under your rule. Just today, you were exposed for murders, money laundering, and drug trafficking. With this all over the media, and its appearance in the New York Times, it is difficult to mask such devastating and unfortunate information. Because of you and your pitiful actions, their and my exposure to these disgusts have become eye-opening. I would like you to acknowledge how your actions are affecting millions and my family is not the same because of it.


Noriega Capture News Footage

Video Analysis:

Manuel Noriega was one who not only made very controversial decisions that were easily disagreed with, but he was also the type of leader to put the fear of death in those who opposed him. In this news cast, the announcer states how brave an action like that would be; "To join in opposition was to risk arrest, a dose of tear gas, or perhaps a beating" (Dan Molina). While Panamanians joined protests clanging pots and pans, there efforts were unrecognized until the United States stepped in. The United States kept him captive with charges of drug trafficking, conspiracy, as well as racketeering.


What are the effects on Panamanians, specifically the youth, resulting from being ruled by a leader who promotes drug trafficking?