PANAMA CITY (AP) — Manuel Noriega had become a problem. At least that’s the way it looked from Washington.
For years, the Panamanian military man had been a close and sometimes clandestine ally of U.S. governments as he rose to power in a country defined by a U.S. strategic asset, the Panama Canal, and in a region where America was fighting a series of proxy wars against Soviet allies.
But things were going sour. The populist strongman who had long cooperated with the CIA was growing increasingly independent, more embarrassingly thuggish. Officials in Washington — and grand juries in Florida — decided he was in cahoots with the drug traffickers he once helped fight.
So in December 1989, President George H.W. Bush sent American troops into Panama City to arrest Noriega — the last of several times that U.S. military forces have directly toppled a government in the Americas.
After a few days of fighting, the Central American dictator fled to asylum at the Vatican Embassy on Christmas Eve, setting off a bizarre siege in which U.S. troops bombarded the mission with thunderous rock and rap music. Ten days later, he finally surrendered and was whisked to Miami.
Noriega was never again a free man. …read more
Source:: Black America Web