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Manuel Noriega Returns to Panama

On Sunday, he was transferred to a maximum security facility in the jungle.

by
Dan Miller

Bio

December 12, 2011 - 7:13 am
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Here’s a video showing Noriega leaving Paris:

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Here is an article about his arrival in Panamá from a local English language website:

Noriega Has Landed in Panama — Welcome Home Pineapple Face

The flight carrying the former military dictator Manuel Antonio Noriega has landed at the Tocumen International Airport in Panama. On a personal note I’d like to be the first to say “welcome home, pineapple face.” Now his aircraft will taxi to the cargo area of the airport. All of the other passengers on the aircraft will get off of the airplane and they will be taken on buses back to the main terminal. In cases of high profile prisoner transfers, they are the first to get on and the last to get off. Noriega is under the custody of (my friend) Manuel Moreno, the Chief of the Department of Judicial Investigation. Panama’s Attorney General Jose Ayu Prado is also aboard the plane, as well as a Panamanian doctor. Now Noriega will be put aboard a helicopter and flown from Tocumen to the Police Academy near the Summit Golf Course. And then from there he will be taken in a convoy to the El Renacer prison in Gamboa. All of Panama is fixated on this coverage, and CNN in Spanish is also covering the event wall to wall.

Editor’s Comment: On the day Noriega was captured by U.S. forces in Panama as a result of Operation Just Cause, I was standing on the runway of Howard Air Force Base. I witnessed the helicopter land that was carrying him when he surrendered to U.S. forces, and watched as he was marched aboard a U.S. C-130 to be flown to Miami. Once those cuffs went on they have never come off. It’s nice to see this whole thing come “full circle.” I think it will be healthy for Panama as a whole to go through this process of receiving Noriega, and holding him responsible for his actions in a Panamanian court. Until this moment the United States “owned” Noriega’s arrest and his departure from Panama. As of right now the Republic of Panama “owns” his future. Let’s see what they decide to do with it.

According to another article from the same source, when Noriega arrived at the El Renacer prison his face was hidden from the view of angry people outside screaming at him. However, as noted above, it was a decoy used for security reasons — causing many of those awaiting his delivery disappointment and displeasure at the deception, which became apparent when Noriega arrived a short time later. He was then taken to the prison emergency room where he was examined and fingerprinted.

Welcome back, Manuel. May you get what you so richly deserve. Most of Panamá looks forward to it.

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Dan Miller graduated from Yale University in 1963 and from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1966. He retired from the practice of law in Washington, D.C., in 1996 and has lived in a rural area in Panama since 2002.
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