General Manuel Noreiga (83) who ruled Panama throughout the 1980s, until deposed during Operation Just Cause in 1989, has been placed in a medically induced coma. This follows his release from prison in January in preparation for this surgery. Before placed in a coma, which will last for a minimum of five days, he had undergone two major surgeries to treat a Brain Tumor, the second operation was seemingly successful in treating it, however, it is unclear if he will fully recover.

His condition was announced by his lawyer Ezra Angel who said:"He is in intensive care following a second open cranial surgery in less than eight hours” Before elaborating further on his condition: “The situation is delicate.

He is in critical condition and we hope he recovers in the coming hours”

His life

in 1983 Noriega became the military leader of Panama, and soon after the leader of the country. During his seven years of leadership, he was reportedly involved in arms smuggling to the Colombian revolutionary group M-19, drugs smuggling, and embezzlement. Of which he was later charged and convicted in 1991 in what became known as the “trial of the century”In addition, he is believed to have been involved in the murder of Hugo Spadafora, an outspoken critic of his leadership in 1986. He may have also been involved in the plane crash which killed Omar Torrijos, the former dictator of Panama in 1981.

What is notable is that for many years, Noreiga was an intelligence asset of the Central Intelligence Agency, who provided intelligence on Cuba and the recently deceased Fidel Castro for the CIA (intelligence which may have lead to one of the many assassination attempts on Castro).

As the severe criminality of his leadership became more known, the US turned against him and deposed him.


Following Noriega's trial for drug smuggling and racketeering 1991, he was found guilty and sentenced, and spent many years imprisoned in the USA, before being moved to a prison in France in 2010 to serve a sentence for money laundering.

In 2011 he was extradited to Panama and was imprisoned there until his early release this year.In 2014 Noriega tried to sue the video game publisher Activision for a libelous portrayal of him in their game Call of Duty Black Ops 2, however, the lawsuit was dismissed.