The Real Noriega

Pimpin' In Panama

What aspects of Noriega’s past made him a successful dictator?


Manuel Noriega was born on February 11th, 1983 in a Panama City barrio. He attended the best schools growing up and attended the best high school in the country of Panama. We was going to school to become a doctor but then ran into financial problems and chose to go to a military school. After he graduated from military school he became the protege to Captain Omar Torrijos. Before long he was working for US intelligence as an official CIA member. He sold drugs from panama to the US after he ceased intelligence gathering activities for the US. When the US discovered his drug trafficking, they removed him from power. He was tried in Dade County, Florida in July, 1992. He was sentenced to 40 years but was reduced to 30 years. He finished his prison term in 2007. He is still alive today.

Rick Ross - Hustlin'

Explanation of Piece

In the song “Hustlin’” by Rick Ross, around 1:05-1:20, the line “I know Pablo, Noriega, the real Noriega, he owe me a hundred favors” involves Noriega with the drug trade in Miami. While Rick Ross did not know Noriega personally, he stated in a statement that he had connections to him through his acquaintances and knew a man that had done time in the slammer three cells down from Noriega. Noriega’s charisma made him a memorable person and even those that didn’t know him, felt that they did. Also, Rick Ross equates himself with Atlantic Records (a wholesale record company) much like Noriega was a wholesale drug dealer.

Original Piece

Dear Jose,

I have been caught by the United States sending drugs over there and any day now they will be coming in to Panama to get me. I can no longer send you drugs and weapons. I have sent you enough that you should be set with money and a supply for a long time. When you receive this letter make sure that after you read it you burn the letter so the United States can’t find the letter of me admitting to sending drugs to the United States. Before i finish this letter if i get captured and sent to jail and allowed out on bail I want you to bail me out. I know you have enough money to bail me out and if you don’t sell some drugs and weapons, however much you need extra to bail me out i will pay you whatever it is double.


Manuel Noriega

Time In Power

While Noriega was in power, he did many things that made him an unpredictable individual. While he worked with American Intelligence, he also blocked reconnaissance teams from traveling within the country. He was a money launderer, racketeer-er, and drug dealer. While he was not as oppressive as other dictators, he was not elected, he committed many international crimes, and was able to influence those around him to see things his way.

Quotes About Noriega

"He is going to die in jail, and with him the truth" Almanza

"Im surprised that they didn't put a black hood on his head and drag him out in the middle of the night" Rubino