November 18, 2003
December 1, 2011
Claim to fame:
Panamanian general-turned-president. Good pal of Papa Bush when he ran the CIA, in fact they were such good friends the CIA paid Noriega $USD 100 thousand per year to be a "CIA Asset" in Panama. They were still good pals even after the DEA figured out he was a drug dealer in 1975. He made other friends in Washington, during the Reagan presidency he was good pals with Oliver North, and Panama was a weigh station for illegal arms on their way to the Contras and illegal cocaine on its way back to the US. Nobody minded any of this until he started refusing to provide assistance against the contras in Nicaraugua (which was illegal anyway). At which point he became the current Worst guy since Hitler and after Papa Bush demonstrated his meekness half-backing a failed coup in 1988, the US invaded Panama in 1989, killing about 1000 Panamanians in order to bring Noriega back to "face the music".
Where are they now?
He received a 40 year sentence for drug trafficing in 1989, in 1999 a Florida judge reduced that sentence by 10 years. Also in 1999 the Panamanian government filed a request to have Noriega extradited back to Panama to face murder conspiracy charges (he ordered a group of officers in front of the firing squad after the failed coup in 1989). He will be eligible for parole in 2006. Update: Mar/04: Although he was originally cited here for parole eligibility in 2006, he seems to have already applied for, and been denied, early parole 3 times, most recently March, 2004. He is also reputedly a converted Baptist now (parole boards love religious converts).