Former Panama dictator Manuel Noriega dies at 83

2017-05-30 07:58
A 1989 photo of Panamanian military strongman Manuel Noriega. (AP File)

A 1989 photo of Panamanian military strongman Manuel Noriega. (AP File)

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Panama City - A source close to the family of Manuel Noriega says the former Panamanian dictator has died at age 83.

The source was not authorised to be quoted by name.

Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela wrote in his Twitter account that "the death of Manuel A Noriega closes a chapter in our history".

The onetime US ally was ousted as Panama's dictator by an American invasion in 1989.

Noriega later served a 17-year drug sentence in the United States.

He spent the first two decades after his ouster in US and French jails and the final years of his life in a Panamanian prison for murder of political opponents during his 1983-89 regime.

Noriega accused Washington of a "conspiracy" to keep him behind bars and tied his legal troubles to his refusal to cooperate with a US plan aimed at toppling Nicaragua's leftist Sandinista government in the 1980s.

In recent years, Noriega had suffered various ailments, including high blood pressure and bronchitis.

In 2016, doctors detected the rapid growth of a benign brain tumour that had first been spotted four years earlier. In January of this year, a court granted him house arrest to prepare for surgery on the tumour.


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