From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
De facto leader of Panama
|In office |
August 1983 – January 3, 1990
|Born||February 11, 1934 (1934-02-11) |
Panama City, Panama
Manuel Antonio Noriega (born February 11, 1934) is a former Panamanian general and the military dictator of Panama from 1983 to 1989. He was never officially the president of Panama, but held the post of "chief executive officer" for a brief period in 1989.
Initially a strong ally of the United States, Noriega worked with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from the late 1950s to the 1980s, and was on the CIA payroll for much of this time, although the relationship had not become contractual until 1967. By the late 1980s, relations had turned extremely tense between Noriega and the United States government, due to allegations that he was spying for Cuba under Fidel Castro. In 1989 the general was overthrown and captured in the United States invasion of Panama. He was detained as a prisoner of war, and later taken to the United States. In 1992 he was convicted under federal charges of cocaine trafficking, racketeering, and money laundering in Miami, Florida. Sentenced to 40 years in prison (later reduced to 30 years), Noriega is held at the Federal Correctional Institution, Miami, Florida (FCI Miami).
In December 2004, Noriega was briefly hospitalized after suffering a minor stroke. Voice of America (VOA)  reported Frank Rubino, Noriega's attorney, said Noriega was due to be released from prison on September 9, 2007. In August 2007, a federal judge approved a request from the French government to extradite Noriega from the United States to France after his release. Noriega is facing an additional 10 years in prison if convicted of money laundering in connection to his previous drug-trafficking conviction. Noriega has also received a long jail term in absentia in Panama for murder and human rights abuses.