40 x 30 cm Oil on canvas May 2022 Berlin, Germany Signed and dated on the reverse
Reference: Diana Smith / AP Photo
Manuel Noriega (February 11, 1934 – May 29, 2017) was a Panamanian dictator, politician and military officer who was the de facto ruler of Panama from 1983 to 1989. An authoritarian ruler who amassed a personal fortune through drug trafficking operations, he had long standing ties to United States intelligence agencies before the U.S. invasion of Panama removed him from power.
In March 1988, the U.S. government entered into negotiations with Noriega seeking his resignation. Panama was represented at these negotiations by Rómulo Escobar Bethancourt. Negotiations collapsed after several months of lengthy and inconclusive talks; according to Dinges, Noriega had no intentions of ever resigning. On December 15, 1989, the PRD-dominated legislature spoke of “a state of war” between the United States and Panama. It also declared Noriega “chief executive officer” of the government, formalizing a state of affairs that had existed for six years. The U.S. \government stated that Noriega’s forces were harassing U.S. troops and civilians.
The U.S. launched its invasion of Panama on December 20, 1989. Although the killing of the Marine was the ostensible reason for the invasion, the operation had been planned for months before his death. The move was the largest military action by the U.S. since the Vietnam War, and included more than 27,000 soldiers, as well as 300 aircraft.