Manuel Noriega, former Panama dictator, dead at 83

Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, a onetime U.S. ally who was ousted by an American invasion in 1989, died late Monday at age 83. Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela wrote in his Twitter account that “the death of Manuel A. Noriega closes a chapter in our history.” Varela added, “His daughters and his relatives deserve to mourn in peace.” Noriega ruled with an iron fist, ordering the deaths of those who opposed him and maintaining a murky, close and conflictive relationship with the United States. After his downfall, Noriega served a 17-year drug sentence in the United States, then was sent to face charges in France. He spent all but the last few months of his final years in a Panamanian prison for murder of political opponents during his 1983-89 regime. He accused Washington of a conspiracy to keep him behind bars and tied his legal troubles to his refusal to cooperate with a U.S. plan aimed at toppling Nicaragua’s leftist Sandinista government in the 1980s. In recent years Noriega suffered various ailments including high blood pressure and bronchitis. In 2016, doctors detected the rapid growth of a benign brain tumor that had first been spotted four years earlier, and in January a court granted him house arrest to prepare for surgery on the tumor. He is survived by his wife Felicidad and daughters Lorena, Thays and Sandra.

There is a special place in hell for this loser.  Good riddance, “Pineapple Face.”  To read the rest of this AP story, click on the text above.

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