- Title: Opposition figures recount Noriega's brutal reign over Panama
- Date: 30th May 2017
- Summary: PANAMA CITY, PANAMA (MAY 30, 2017) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) JOURNALIST AND NORIEGA CRITIC, ROBERTO EISENMANN, SAYING: "He (Noriega) handed the Republic of Panama to the drug mafia. They felt like they owned Panama. They came in, they left; the airports were theirs, the ports were theirs. Under Noriega we almost became the first drug state in the world. It is difficult to find something positive."
- Embargoed: 13th June 2017 23:44
- Keywords: Panama Manuel Noriega Roberto Eisenmann Balbina Herrera
- Location: PANAMA CITY, PANAMA
- City: PANAMA CITY, PANAMA
- Country: Panama
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0036J183EV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Opposition figures in Panama reflected on what they characterised as the brutal dictatorship of Manuel Noriega on Tuesday (May 30), hours after the former strongman's death was announced in the Central American country.
Though there's no official word on the cause of death, the 83-year-old had undergone brain surgery in March to remove a benign tumour. At the time, his lawyer said Noriega was in a coma after complications saw a second operation carried out with an open skull.
Noriega ruled Panama from 1983 to 1989, spying for the CIA before his drug trafficking and brutal regime sparked a massive U.S. invasion in 1989.
Nearly 28,000 troops were sent in to seize Panama City and capture the central American leader in a house to house hunt. Noriega orchestrated the disappearance of scores of his opponents. When some of those bodies were exhumed later, they were found bound and showing signs of torture.
He was later charged with murder, serving his sentence in the country he once ruled after serving time in the United States and France. But he had never spoken out against his former allies and opponents.
Noriega was released from prison in January for three months to undergo the brain surgery.
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