Ex-Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega dies

Wednesday, 31 May, 2017

The announcement of his death was made by government communications secretary Manuel Dominguez.

Panamanian president Juan Carlos Varela announced the death of the country's former dictator, Manuel Noriega.

The United States invaded Panama in 1989 and Noriega was convicted of drug charges in 1991. In January of this year, a court granted him house arrest to prepare for surgery on the tumor.

Noriega's relationship with the U.S. turned sour when he was forcibly removed as American troops invaded his country in 1989. Later, he was awarded jail in the United States in 1992 following charges of drugs and money laundering. Here is everything you need to know about his life and death in our Manuel Noriega wiki. He also served time in France for money laundering.

Noriega's trial in 1991 was dubbed the drugs "trial of the century" by the US Drug Enforcement Administration and eventually saw him found guilty on eight counts and sentenced to 40 years in jail. As part of the operation, U.S. military invaded Panama and took control of Noriega. Ten days later, he finally surrendered and was whisked to Miami.

Manuel Antonio Noriega Moreno was born on February 11, 1934 in Panama City.

Studies at a military academy in Peru. His mentor Gen Omar Torrijos led a coup in 1968 and took over the reigns of the country.

Following Noriega's ouster Panama underwent huge changes. He later specialized in information and counterintelligence at an American base in Fort Gulick, located in the Panama Canal area. Noriega took on his mentor's role as de facto leader of the country in 1983, two years after Torrijos died in a "mysterious" plane crash, says The Guardian. The onetime USA ally was ousted by an American invasion in 1989, served a 17-year drug sentence in the United States and then was sent to face charges in France.

During his ascent and time in power, Noriega juggled work for the United States' Central Intelligence Agency along with relationships with Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, Cuban leader Fidel Castro, and other foreign intelligence services.

July 2010: A French court sentences Noriega to seven years in prison.

The U.S. military action to remove Noriega from power twenty-eight years ago ended a saga of American support for a former ally and dictator, CBS News' Pamela Falk reports, and ten years later, the U.S. would sign the Panama Canal Treaty, returning control to Panama.

Noriega had been held in a medically induced coma after suffering brain haemorrhaging in March following a procedure to have a tumour removed from his brain, BBC writes. The ex-dictator's family and lawyers say he has suffered strokes, respiratory problems, prostate cancer and depression.

Following a March 7 operation for a benign tumor, in the Panamanian capital, he was readmitted due to brain bleeding.

May 29, 2017: Noriega dies at the San Tomas public hospital.