General Manuel Noriega, the former military dictator of Panama, has died at the age of 83, according to an announcement by the Panamanian government.
General Noriega, whose brutal rule in Panama was characterized drug-running and racketeering, passed away on Monday after undergoing brain surgery. Noriega had been a key ally of the United States as a counter to the Communist threat in Central America. However, his brutal rule and links to drug running led to the US invasion of Panama in 1989.
In 1990, two weeks after the invasion, Noriega was captured by the US. The general faced charges of racketeering, drug-running, and murder and served 17 years in prison for the conviction. Noriega faced subsequent trials in France and Panama for similar charges.
On his return to Panama, Manuel Noriega had apologized to the public for his oppressive rule.