- Title: Panama marks 30th anniversary of U.S. invasion
- Date: 20th December 2019
- Summary: ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** PERSON PLAYING BUGLE
- Embargoed: 3rd January 2020 21:42
- Keywords: General Manuel Noriega Panama Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo U.S.A. commemoration invasion memorial protests
- Location: PANAMA CITY, PANAMA
- City: PANAMA CITY, PANAMA
- Country: Panama
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA002BAS7LFR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Marking 30 years since the United States invaded the country in 1989 and ousted dictator General Manuel Noriega, government officials and relatives of victims who died during the invasion took part in a memorial service on Friday (December 20) at a cemetery in Panama City.
A military honor guard presented a wreath in memory of the victims as Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo looked on. "To all the families of people that died 30 years ago, I express my apologies and my respect," said Cortizo.
Although Washington calculates about 300 Panamanians died during the U.S. invasion, human rights groups have said the number could be as high as 3,000.
Backed by a coalition of civilian parties, Guillermo Endara was the clear winner of Panama's presidential election in May 1989. But General Manuel Noriega refused to recognize the result and, instead, unleashed a wave of repression against his opponents. Later the same year, President George H.W. Bush sent in the U.S. marines.
On December 20, 27,000 U.S. troops seized control of Panama City in "Operation Just Cause," razing the army's headquarters and launching a house-to-house search for Noriega.
He surrendered in January 1990 after holing up in the Vatican Embassy, unable to withstand an assault of loud rock music that Americans blasted at the mission night and day.
He was brought to Miami, where he served 20 years in prison for drug trafficking, money laundering and racketeering and later served prison sentences in France and Panama before dying in 2017 at the age of 83.
(Production: Manuel Carrillo, Abraham Teran)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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