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Manuel Noriega is dead

John Hopper / AP

Manuel Noriega, the former dictator of Panama who was removed from power by an invasion from his former U.S. allies in 1989, is dead. He was 83.

  • Why he was removed, per WaPo: George H.W. Bush said Noriega "had declared war on the United States first ... made Panama a haven for drug dealers ... endangered open shipping channels through the Panama Canal. Gen. Noriega's opponents also charged he had ordered the killing of a prominent political opponent" and rigged the 1989 elections.
  • Why he mattered, per AP: "At the apex of his power he wielded great influence outside the country as well thanks to longstanding relationships with spy agencies around the world..."
  • After the fall: Noriega served a prison sentence in the U.S., eventually spending his final months in a prison for murdering political opponents during the 1980s, per the AP.
  • Go deeper: Obits by WaPo, NYT...