Manuel Antonio Noriega

Manuel Antonio Noriega

Panama City, Panamá, Panama
Death 29 May 2017 (aged 83)
Panama City, Panamá, Panama
Burial Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend
Memorial ID 179852848 · View Source
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Panamanian Military Leader. Born Manuel Antonio Noriega Morena, he served as the commander of the Panamanian Defense Forces and was the "actual power" behind the civilian president from 1983 to 1989. After being educated at one of the top high schools in Panama, he was awarded a scholarship to the Chorrillos Military School in Lima, Peru. After returning to Panama, he was given the rank of sublieutenant in the National Guard and stationed at Colon. He rose through the ranks of the National Guard and became friends with Captain Omar Torrijos. He was actively involved in the military coup that ousted President Arnulfo Arias, which led to Torrijos' rise to power. He was very loyal to Torrijos and helped squash a coup attempt against Torrijos. For this loyalty, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and named the head of military intelligence. During his tenure as the head of military intelligence, he was considered to be the "most feared man in Panama" for his tactics of intimidation and harassment that he used against opposition groups and its leaders. When Torrijos passed away in a plane crash in 1981, he vied with other military and civilian leaders to gain the power that Torrijos had. In 1983 he became head of the National Guard, unified the armed forces into the Panamanian Defense Forces and promoted himself to general. In the 1980s, charges of drug trafficking and other illegal activities hounded him and worsened relations with the United States, whom for years he had a good relationship with. In 1989 he cancelled the upcoming presidential elections and attempted to rule with a "puppet" government. After a military coup against him failed, the United States invaded the country. He originally sought and gained refuge at the Vatican embassy in Panama City, but after ten days, he surrendered to the United States and was transported to Miami to face criminal charges. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison in 1992 after being convicted of cocaine trafficking, racketeering, and money laundering, but his sentence was later reduced. In 2007 he was released, but stayed in prison while appealing his extradition to France where he had been convicted in absentia for money laundering and other charges. In April of 2010 he lost his appeals and was sent to France. In 2011 France agreed to extradite him back to Panama and in December of that year, he came back to Panama. Upon his return, he began to serve three 20-year prison terms. He passed away two months after brain surgery.

Bio by: Mr. Badger Hawkeye


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Starfishin
  • Added: 29 May 2017
  • Find a Grave Memorial 179852848
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Manuel Antonio Noriega (11 Feb 1934–29 May 2017), Find a Grave Memorial no. 179852848, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.