Panama opens a truth commission on US invasion
an article by Radio Salta
US stealth bombers lit up the early morning
December 20, 1989 in Panama with a bombing
that marked the beginning of Operation Just
Cause to overthrow Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega,
wanted by a Miami court for drug trafficking.
click on photo to enlarge
But 25 years after the penultimate US military
intervention in Latin America and the Caribbean in
the twentieth century-the last was in Haiti in 1994
- darkness prevails over an episode that ended
with the collapse of the military regime inherited
by Noriega after the coup in 1968 by Omar
In a surprise announcement to commemorate the
25th anniversary of the invasion, the president of
Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, announced Saturday
that he will create a special commission to
investigate "everything related" to the dead and
missing during the operation.
The goal, Varela said, is "heal the wounds, and
promote national reconciliation."
The commission will be headed by the Vice
President and Panamanian Foreign Minister Isabel
Saint Malo de Alvarado, along with the
participation of the Catholic Church and civil
Among other issues, the victims demand that
Washington recognize the invasion, compensate
the country and say where are the mass graves
have been buried hundreds of Panamanians,
besides declaring December 20 as a day of
But as the country faces its past, Noriega can not
escape from his own past. The henchman of the
CIA - before he decided to go free from them -
and faithful lieutenant of President Torrijos - until
Torrijos died in an unexplained plane crash,
Noriega emerged in the eighties as the most
eccentric tropical dictator and converted the
country into a base for drug trafficking, money
laundering and smuggling, and now languishes in
a Panamanian prison. At the age of 80, he faces a
possible sentence of 60 years for political
homicide and money laundering.
After being captured in Panama 13 days after the
invasion, Noriega was transferred to the United
States, where he was sentenced in 1992 to 40
years in prison for drug trafficking (a shame
reduced to 20 years) and in 2010 was deported to
France, where was extradited to Panama in 2011.
(Click here for a Spanish version of this article)
Question(s) related to this article:
Truth Commissions , Do they improve human rights?
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