Manuel Noriega
by Tucker Lavigne

1) Profile of Manuel Noriega

Manuel Noriega grew up in a poor section of Panama City in Panama. He was adopted by a school teacher and attended the National Institute for High School. His dream was to become a Doctor, but never had the money to afford medical school. He became an engineer at the Chorrios Military Academy in Peru. He later became a sublieutenant for the National Guard. Noriega's career blossomed when he guided Torrijo's plane down on a runway safely during the night. Manuel worked his way up to the second most powerful man in Panama. Noriega was promoted to General and Commander of the National Guard where he  became dictator of Panama. Torrijo soon died in a mysterious plane crash. Noriega had been accused of drug trafficking and was accused of being involved in the death of Torrijo. Noriega declared a national emergency and closed newspapers/radio stations. He dictated by forcing his enemie into exile.   

2) Audio/Visual/Artistic Element

  • This documentary shows the impacts of Manuel Noriega and his Dictatorship. The documentary covers how Manuel Noriega used the tools of Murder and torture to maintain his power. They also show how he used the military ways to make the people of Panama fear him. They show qualities of Manuel Noriega such as he always dresses in military style as most dictator's do. He executes everyone that is a threat to him. He learns to inspire the people of Panama for a greater future.

3) Journal Entry

3 January , 1985

- The people of Panama are starting to catch on to my cruel actions. There are rumors circulating around about how I was involved in the death of Torrijo. If the public finds out for sure, this will destroy my reputation and take me out of ruling. I can't believe my old chief of staff accused me of my election being fixed. Everyone knew I was going to win anyway. I won't worry about this idiot because I have plans to execute him. Anyone who portrays me or presents themselves as a threat to my power will be executed. The chief of staff knew this, he must have underestimated my power. I need to find a solution to this problem, I need to stop the media from escalating this rumor. I have decided to cancel newspaper distribution and eliminate the use of radio. This will prevent the people of Panama from being suspicious of my actions. I am hopeful that this will put an end to rumors about my involvement in Torrijo's death and rumors  about my fixed election.

Manuel Noriega

4) Essential Question

What actions and qualities of Manuel Noriega lead up to his rise in power?