- Title: Panamanians wake up to news former dictator Manuel Noriega is dead
- Date: 30th May 2017
- Summary: PANAMA CITY, PANAMA (MAY 30, 2017) (REUTERS) GENERAL VIEW OF RESIDENTS IN STREET PILE OF NEWSPAPERS WITH NEWS OF NORIEGA'S DEATH (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) RESIDENT, MIGUEL BATISTA, SAYING: "The military, apart from being repressors and ending with our institutions, ending with our democracy, I must admit they ruled wisely. Public debt, for example, amounted to $4 billion. Now it's $25 billion dollars." MAN CARRYING NEWSPAPER ON BIKE NEWSPAPER HEADLINE WITH NORIEGA'S DEATH (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) RESIDENT, ESTEBAN SILVA, SAYING: "What do I think about Noriega? That Noriega was a very good man (says sarcastically) and the whole of Panama loved him. Because he made the gringos (Americans) come and invade us. Such love they had for that bloke." NEWSPAPER SELLER IN STREET MAN READING NEWSPAPER (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) RESIDENT, ESTEBAN SILVA, SAYING: "He was old and suffered a lot and he was evil and everything but he has paid for what he did. We're all heading in the same direction. When Noriega was in power we could work here but now you can't." VARIOUS OF EXTERIOR OF SANTO TOMAS HOSPITAL WHERE NORIEGA DIED
- Embargoed: 13th June 2017 17:37
- Keywords: Noriega dead reaction dictator Panama
- Location: PANAMA CITY, PANAMA / INTERNET
- City: PANAMA CITY, PANAMA / INTERNET
- Country: Panama
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0036J16SSJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Panamanians on Tuesday (May 30) received with mixed feelings the news that former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, who spied for the United States before his drug trafficking and brutality triggered a U.S. invasion to oust him in 1989, had died at age 83.
Relatives were seen arriving at hospital to pay their last respects.
President Juan Carlos Varela announced Noriega's death late on Monday (May 29), saying it marked the closing of a chapter in the Central American country's history. Varela added Noriega's family should have the right to bury the former leader in peace.
Noriega, who ruled Panama from 1983 to 1989, was a longtime collaborator of the Central Intelligence Agency and a useful U.S. ally in a region that was prone to leftist insurgencies.
The invasion ordered by President George H.W. Bush brought an end to his career of money-laundering and cocaine smuggling, in which he worked with traffickers like Colombian Pablo Escobar. He was initially sentenced in the United States in 1992, but was serving a sentence for murder in Panama when he died.
Noriega was let out of prison under house arrest in January to have an operation to remove a brain tumour. The surgery went ahead in early March, but he suffered a haemorrhage, underwent a second operation, and had been in a coma ever since.
A Panamanian government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Noriega died at around 11 p.m. local time in a Panama City hospital after his condition suddenly worsened.
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