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Former Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega dies at the age of 83

Panama

<p>Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega has died at the age of 83 following brain surgery this year.<br /> Noriega, who ruled Panama from 1983 to 1989, spied for the <span class="caps">CIA</span> until the United States invaded and toppled his corrupt government, ending a criminal career that saw him working with drug traffickers such as Pablo Escobar. </p> <p>President Juan Carlos Varela announced Noriega’s death on Twitter late on Monday, and said his passing marked the closing of a chapter in the Central American country’s history. He said Noriega’s family should have the right to bury the former leader in peace.</p> <p>The 1989 invasion ordered by President George H.W. Bush brought an end to Noriega’s career of money-laundering and cocaine smuggling. <br /> He was initially sentenced in the United States in 1992 but was in custody for murder in Panama when he died. </p> <p>Noriega had surgery in March to remove a brain tumour, having been let out of prison under house arrest in January because of ill health. But he suffered a haemorrhage and had been in a coma.</p> <p>A Panamanian government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Noriega died at around 11 p.m. local time in a Panama City hospital after his condition suddenly worsened.</p>
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