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Vice President Bush with Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega, 1983

Vice President George H.W. Bush and Panamanian leader Manuel Antonio Noriega at Panama City Airport, Dec. 10, 1983, in a photo from Britain’s Thames Television. (AP Photo/Thames TV “This Week”)

Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega dead at 83

Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, a onetime U.S. ally who was ousted as Panama’s dictator by an American invasion in 1989, died late Monday at age 83.

Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela wrote in his Twitter account that “the death of Manuel A. Noriega closes a chapter in our history.”

Varela added, “His daughters and his relatives deserve to mourn in peace.”

Noriega served a 17-year drug sentence in the United States and was later sent to face charges in France. The final years of his life were spent in a Panamanian prison for murder of political opponents during his 1983-89 regime.

He accused Washington of a “conspiracy” to keep him behind bars and tied his legal troubles to his refusal to cooperate with a U.S. plan aimed at toppling Nicaragua’s leftist Sandinista government in the 1980s. (AP)

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