Manuel Noriega

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Manuel Noriega
Manuel Noriega mug shot.jpg
Personal life
Date and place of birth February 11, 1938
Panama City
Claimed religion
Education Chorrillos Military School
Spouse Felicidad Sieiro de Noriega
Children Lorena , Sandra , Thays Noriega
Date & Place of Death May 29, 2017
Manner of Death Brain Hemorrhage
Place of burial -
Dictatorial career
Country Panama
Military service n/a
Highest rank attained n/a
Political beliefs
Political party
Date of dictatorship 1983-1989
Wars started -
Number of deaths attributed -

Manuel Antonio Noriega (February 11, 1934 – May 29, 2017) is the former Panamanian general and the military dictator of Panama, serving from 1983-1989. As the US found that Noriega had contacts with drug dealers, George H.W. Bush started an intervention to overthrow Noriega. After this Noriega was arrested in a prison in Miami. He was sentenced for 60 years in prison for corruption and murdering of political opponents.[1] At the time of his removal from power, as many as 93% of Panama's citizens supported American military action. He took refuge in the Vatican embassy. The US military played loud rock music to get him to leave. During an unspecified AC/DC song, Noriega surrendered. He died at age 89.

CIA asset

Noriega was recruited by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency in 1959, who went on the CIA payroll in 1967, and who became head of Panamanian military intelligence in 1968, where he was in a strategic position to supply both information and drugs to the United States, and later on arms to the Nicaragua Contras in an operation based in Panama, Mexico, and the Mena airport in Arkansas. CIA money was paid to Noriega through the Panamanian branch of BCCI. Noriega deposited $33 million in his account inder the name of the Panamanian Defense Forces at the Panamanian branch of BCCI. The head of the branch was the son of a former director of intelligence in Pakistan. The CIA and U.S. Army only acknowledged paying Noreiga $322,226 between 1955 and 1986.[2]

Noriega had much earlier gotten into trouble with the US State Department because of his drug dealing. But this changed when his support was needed in the negotiations for a new Panama Canal Treaty.

"By 1976, Noriega was fully forgiven. CIA Director George Bush arranged to pay Noriega $110,000 a year for his services, put the Panamanian up as a houseguest of his deputy CIA director, and helped to prevent an embarrassing prosecution of several American soldiers who had delivered highly classified U.S. intelligence secrets to Noriega's men. . . .
"If Carter needed friends in Panama to smooth the way for a canal treaty, Reagan (who strongly opposed that treaty) needed them to support the Contra cause. . . . CIA payments to Noriega resumed when Reagan took office in 1981, starting at $185,000 a year. At their peak, in 1985, Noriega collected $200,000 from the Agency. The CIA deposited the money in Noriega's account at the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, two of whose units later pleaded guilty to laundering drug money. CIA Director William Casey frequently met with Noriega alone in Washington."[3]


  2. New York Times, January 19, 1991
  3. Peter Dale Scott and Jonathan Marshall, Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America, University of California Press, 1991