Manuel Noriega
by Abbie Palker

1) Profile

Noriega was born into a poor family of Colombian extraction. Educated at one of the top high schools in Panama, he was awarded a scholarship to the Chorrillos Military School in Lima.Manuel Noriega was the military ruler of Panama who ran a corrupt puppet government there until the United States drove him out in 1990. In 1983, Manuel Noriega unified the armed forces into the Panamanian Defense Forces, promoted himself to the rank of general and became leader of Panama. He became involved with U.S. intelligence activities. In 1971 he went to Havana, Cuba, at the request of U.S. president Richard Nixon (1911–1994) to obtain the release of crewmen of two American ships seized by Fidel Castro's government. At this time Noriega was already involved in drug deals. A high-ranking drug enforcement officer recommended that President Nixon order Noriega's assassination, but Nixon did not follow through. As head of G-2, Panama's military intelligence command, Noriega was the second most powerful man in Panama.n June 1987 Noriega's former chief of staff, Colonel Roberto Diaz Herrera, stated that Noriega had fixed the 1984 election and ordered the killing of Hugo Spadafora, who had publicly accused Noriega of drug trafficking. Herrera also said Noriega had been involved in Torrijos's death. He suspended constitutional rights, closed newspapers and radio stations, and drove his political enemies into exile. Herrera was captured and ordered to take back his statements. Church leaders, businessmen, and students organized into the National Civil Crusade, dressed in white, and went into the streets banging pots and pans. The riot squads drove them away.

2) Audio/Visual/Artistic Element

  • This political cartoon represents what a bad leader Noriega was buy showing him with handcuffs on a staircase to Panama. His big head shows us how big his ego was and that he only cared about himself and not his country.  Noriega was a selfish leader and was very  into drugs and ended up in jail due to his poor decisions. 

3) Creative Piece

Dear, Manuel Noriega

As a citizen of Panama, I strongly disagree with the way you run this country and do not think you should be A dictator. You only care about yourself and sense day one you have cheated your way to the top, you are a dangerous person who should not have control of anything.  You have done extreme things to get what you want and I do not think that is a professional way to do your job, you are a danger to everyone in panama. You came from nothing and now that you have everything you are being reckless and careless with your decision making. Overall I do not think you are a goo leaser to this country.

4) Essential Question

Was Manuel Noreiga well liked as a leader in Panama?