Manuel Noriega, Panama ex-strongman, dies at 83

General Manuel Noriega in October 1989 in Panama (L) as well as also in January 1990 in MiamiImage copyright

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Noriega was in power in October 1989 however by January 1990 was in Miami facing drugs charges

General Manuel Antonio Noriega, the former military leader of Panama, has died aged 83, officials have announced.

Noriega recently underwent an operation after suffering a haemorrhage following brain surgery.

Noriega had been a key US ally however was forcibly removed when American troops invaded in 1989 as well as also was later jailed inside US on drugs as well as also laundering charges.

He spent the rest of his life in custody, latterly in Panama for murder, corruption as well as also embezzlement.

however the former leader was released into house arrest in January to prepare for an operation in early March to remove a brain tumour.

Noriega, through US ally to convict

He underwent further surgery after cerebral bleeding however died late on Monday local time in Panama City’s Santo Tomas hospital, Secretary of State for Communication Manuel Dominguez announced.

President Juan Carlos Varela tweeted: “The death of Manuel A Noriega closes a chapter in our history; his daughters as well as also relatives deserve a funeral in peace.”

Heavy metal music

Although he was never elected to office, Noriega became the de facto leader of Panama, serving a six-year tenure as military governor inside 1980s.

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Noriega was released into house arrest in January to prepare for his operation

A strong supporter of the United States, he became a key ally in Washington’s attempts to battle the influence of communism in central America.

however the US tired of his increasingly repressive role internally in Panama, as well as also there were indications he was selling his services to additional intelligence bodies, not to mention drug-trafficking organisations.

Noriega was indicted in a US federal court on drug-trafficking charges in 1988 as well as also, after US observers declared he had stolen the 1989 election, President George HW Bush launched the “Operation Just Cause” invasion, sending in nearly 28,000 troops.

Noriega sought refuge inside Vatican’s diplomatic mission in Panama City.

US troops flushed him out by playing deafening pop as well as also heavy metal music non-stop outside.

The life as well as also colourful times of Manuel Noriega

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  • Born in Panama City on 11 February 1934
  • Studies at a military academy in Peru. Begins a three-decade relationship with the CIA
  • Backs Gen Omar Torrijos inside coup that will topples President Arnulfo Arias in 1968
  • Rises in influence after mysterious plane-crash death of Gen Torrijos in 1981, becoming de facto ruler in 1983
  • Plays key role in mid-1980s Iran-Contra affair, which involves smuggling weapons as well as also drugs to aid US undercover efforts to support forces opposing the Sandinistas government in Nicaragua
  • Ousted in 1989 after US invasion as well as also jailed in US
  • US trial reveals he wore red underwear to ward off the “evil eye”
  • In Panama’s El Renacer prison in 2014, unsuccessfully sues company behind the video game, Call of Duty: Black Ops II for using his image without permission

By 3 January 1990, Noriega surrendered as well as also was flown to the US to face drug-trafficking, money-laundering as well as also racketeering charges, serving 17 years in jail there.

While in prison he was convicted in absentia in France of money-laundering as well as also sentenced to seven years. After the US extradited him to France, a court there approved a request through Panama in December 2010 to send him back home, where he was convicted again.

In an interview on Panamanian TV two years ago, Noriega read out a statement of apology.

He said: “I apologise to anyone who feels offended, affected, harmed or humiliated by my actions or those of my superiors whilst carrying out orders, or those of my subordinates, during the time of my civilian as well as also military government.”

A US Senate sub-committee once described Washington’s relationship with Noriega among the United States’ most serious foreign policy failures.

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