Manuel Noriega, ousted Panamanian dictator, dies at 83

Manuel Noriega, ousted Panamanian dictator, dies at 83

Manuel Noriega, ousted Panamanian dictator, dies at 83

His death was announced by Secretary of State for Communication Manuel Dominguez.

The falling out culminated in the U.S. sending nearly 28,000 troops to seize Panama City and capture Noriega after a house-to-house hunt. He was serving a 60-year prison sentence until a court granted him temporary house arrest earlier this year, for health reasons.

The former dictator's cause of death has not been released, but he had been in the hospital for month following surgery to remove a benign brain tumor.

Noriega ruled Panama from 1983 to 1989.

Noriega was later accused in a United States court of accepting up to $60 million in bribes from cartel members, who apparently also paid Panamanian banks 2 percent of proceeds to launder their drug money. He and surrendered to United States troops in January 1990.

He was indicted for drug trafficking in Florida in 1988.

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Surprisingly, Barria and other Noriega opponents stopped short of expressing harsh criticism of the former strongman who repressed their demonstrations and forced many into exile.

He said: "I apologise to anyone who feels offended, affected, harmed or humiliated by my actions or those of my superiors whilst carrying out orders, or those of my subordinates, during the time of my civilian and military government".

Known mockingly as "Pineapple Face" for his pockmarked complexion, Manuel Antonio Noriega was born poor in Panama City on February 11, 1934, and was raised by foster parents.

He attended a military school in Peru, encouraged by a half brother, Luis Carlos, who served in the Panamanian Embassy there.

Noriega's lawyer Ezra Angel asked for "respect for his family's privacy at this painful time". Noriega's rise in the military ranks in Panama came when he supported Omar Torrijos in a military coup.

Noriega was Panama's de facto ruler from 1983 to 1989.

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Noriega was considered a valued Central Intelligence Agency asset and was paid millions of dollars for assistance to the USA throughout Latin America, including acting as a liaison to Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

Noriega's promotion to full general of 1983 made him the de facto leader of Panama, which at the time had no control over the Panama Canal Zone, an area of USA control surrounding the canal.

Noriega's USA sentence was reduced to 30 years after three former US officials spoke on his behalf at a sentence-reduction hearing.

July 2010: A French court sentences Noriega to seven years in prison.

Former Panama dictator, drug trafficker, and sometime informant of the United States, Manuel Antonio Noriega, is dead at 83.

He died late Monday after suffering a brain hemorrhage resulting from surgery, CBS News reported. Following the surgery, which removed the tumor, he began to bleed and was placed into an induced coma after a second operation.

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