Dictator Name
by Your Name

1) Profile of Noriega

Manuel Noriega was born February 11, 1934 and is currently 81 years old. Noriega was a military leader and politician of the country of Panama. He was commissioned in the Panama National Guard in 1967 and raised to the rank of lieutenant in 1968. During the coup the following year Noriega supported Omar Torrijos. After Torrijos came into power, Noriega was appointed chief of military intelligence and promoted to lieutenant colonel. Torrijos was killed in a plane crash on July 31, 1981 and Florencio Aguilar took his place as the commander of Panamanian National Guard. One year later Aguilar was succeeded by Ruben Paredes, who stepped down from his post to run for his presidency which left Noriega to command. Noriega worked with the CIA in the late 1950's and continued up until the 80's. Although he worked with them this entire time it only became contractual in 1967.  In 1988 grand juries in Tampa and Miami indicted Noriega on U.S federal drug charges, later it was learned that Noriega also used Bank of Credit and Commerce International along with financial institutions to launder money. During his rule Noriega increased his power by promoting himself to full general, since he was also being paid by the CIA he extended new rights to the US regarding matters such as the Panama Canal and aiding of US-backed guerrilla fighters. In 1984 the first national elections in 16 years were held. When Arnulfo Arias seemed to be winning, Noriega halted the counting of votes and claimed that the Panamanian Defense Force's candidate had won by a slim margin. Soon after this a critic of Noriega, Hugo Spadafora, claimed that Noriega had connections to a drug trafficking ring and that Spadafora was going to come to Panama to oppose him. Spadafora was seized at the border and was tortured and decapitated. The current President who was in New York City at the time, promised that there would be an investigation into this matter but he was summoned to FDP headquarters and told to resign. There was many more years of rigged elections and suspicious murders connected to Noriega in the following years up until he was captured in the U.S invasion of Panama on January 31, 1990.

2) Audio/Visual/Artistic Element

In this interview with Manuel Noriega, you can see that Noriega is hiding something. Throughout the interview he constantly denies having anything to do with drug trafficking even though there are several people testifying against him, he uses the excuse, "They are convicts". Although there is some merit as to what he is saying, that convicts should not be trusted, you can also see him get nervous when asked how much money he makes. It is decided that he makes about $50,000 a year, while this is a good amount of money it is not enough to sustain all of his assets. He owns several houses and he should not be able to afford them with his taxed income, so he probably was getting money from somewhere else. Noriega is noticeably stressed after the interviewer starts to throw out accusations which is evidence that he may have been hiding something.

3) Creative Piece

To whom it may concern,

Manuel Noriega is a parasite to the country of Panama, he has lied, killed, and participated in illegal actions to rise to power and maintain control. Noriega has censored many people that have spoken out against him, including Hugo Spadafora, who was put to death on entry into Panama. Noriega should not be able to walk over everyone like this and he should be punished for not only ordering death teams to hunt down his opposition, but also for forcibly removing our president from his office. The resident claimed that he was going to have an investigation in Spadafora's death, and was deemed a threat to Noriega, so he was forced out of office. Noriega controls this country while he earns money by participating in the drug trade. To this day he still denies this accusation, but many people who were involved with not only the drug trade, but also laundering money, have spoken out against Noriega but he denies every person's testimony. We have to do something to remove Noriega from this country and I believe that we may need outside help from the U.S to do it.



4) Essential Question

How was Noriega able to maintain control of Panama throughout his time as military leader?