Former Panama dictator Manuel Noriega dies at 83

Former Panama dictator Manuel Noriega dies at 83

Former Panama dictator Manuel Noriega dies at 83

A lawyer for the late Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega says there is no official word on what caused his death.

Manuel Noriega, a former Panamanian dictator who spent years in prison after his ouster, died late Monday. He was placed in a medically induced coma after suffering severe brain hemorrhaging during the surgery, his attorney told CNN affiliate TV Panama at the time.

Following years of ill-health that included respiratory problems, prostate cancer and depression, Noriega's family pleaded with the authorities to let him serve the rest of his sentence under house arrest.

Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela announced Noriega's death on Twitter, writing: "Death of Manuel A. Noriega closes a chapter in our history".

Amid growing unrest in Panama, the US President George Bush (senior) ordered the invasion of Panama, in December 1989. A poor but intelligent youth, his options were limited until a half-brother helped him join the military.

One of his first posts was under Omar Torrijos, who went on to seize power in a 1968 coup and appointed Noriega as head of military intelligence.

But his cooperation with the illicit drug trade made him a liability to the US -led war on drugs, although he at times served as an informant for American anti-drug operations.

The disgraced Panamanian dictator was closely affiliated with the Central Intelligence Agency until he built relationships with drug lords and attempted to build a narcotics empire that trafficked drugs into the USA.

In 1988, Noriega was indicted by United States courts for drug trafficking.

Novak Djokovic wins opening match at French Open
Novak Djokovic's new coach Andre Agassi watched from the stands during the Serbian's first-round win over Marcel Granollers. She was angered by two contentious calls and also had to leave the court in the first set for treatment on a back injury.

Noriega leaves behind a wife and three children.

He was toppled in a December 1989 United States invasion, the largest such U.S. military operation since the Vietnam war.

Noriega accused the US government of hatching a "conspiracy" to keep him incarcerated.

While some resentment lingers over the USA invasion, Noriega has so few supporters in modern-day Panama that attempts to auction off his old home attracted no bidders and the government chose to demolish decaying building down.

It became clear to Washington that Noriega was more interested in selling his services to the highest bidder - including the United States' political enemies - than maintaining good relations. He and surrendered to U.S. troops in January 1990.

In 1991, Noriega was convicted of drug charges, after the "trial of the century".

Noriega speaks in Panama City in May 1988.

Jurors convicted Noriega in April 1992 of eight of 10 charges. After the USA extradited him to France, a court there approved a request from Panama in December 2010 to send him back home, where he was convicted again.

According to Anderson, Noriega said: "I wouldn't do that again". "The Panamanian people have already overcome this period of dictatorship".

Related news