Manuel Noriega: Operation Just Cause

Essay by stbetheaJunior High, 9th grade October 2004

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The Capture of Manuel Noriega

Operation Just Cause

Manuel Noriega was a Panamanian soldier and the military leader of

Panama from 1983 to 1989. He had a quick rise to power and a violent

regime. By the end of 1980 his leadership became so violent and

unacceptable that he was overthrown and captured by US invading forces in

a mission called "Operation Just Cause." He was imprisoned in 1992.

Manuel Noreiga was born in Panama City. He suffered severe acne and

was nicknamed "Pineapple Face" because of scars left on his face. He was

educated in Panama and in a Military school in Lima Peru. He received a

commission in the National Guard in 1967 and was promoted to Lieutenant

in 1968. He was also part of the group that removed Arnulfo Arias from

Power. The new leader, Omar Torrihjos Herrera appointed him Chief of

Military intelligence. He was ruthless in this position and political

opponents disappeared.

When Torrijos died in a plane crash, in 1981

Noriega became Chief of Staff. In 1983 he promoted himself to general and

by 1984, he had handpicked a man as candidate for President in the first

Presidential election since 1972. Nicolas Ardito Barletta had little power

and was replaced by his vice president Eric Arturo Delvalle. Five different

governments had ruled in Panama before Manuel Noriega had established

himself in power.

Since the mid-1960s Noriega had some CIA connections, but was always

following his own interests: already at that time he was involved in illegal

activities, like drugs, smuggling, money laundering, and selling US military

secrets to Cuba. There were also reports about his connections to the M-19

guerillas in Columbia. About this time Noriega started openly and directly

antagonizing even the USA and by 1989 the US troops deployed along...