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Ex-Panama strongman Noriega dies at 83

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PANAMA CITY (Reuters) – Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, who spied for the CIA before his drug trafficking and brutal regime sparked a United States invasion in 1989, has died at aged 83.

President Juan Carlos Varela announced Noriega’s death on Twitter late on Monday (May 29), and said his passing marked the closing of a chapter in Panama’s history.

Noriega, who ruled Panama from 1983 to 1989, spied for the Central Intelligence Agency until the United States invaded and toppled his corrupt government, ending a criminal career that saw him working with drug traffickers like Pablo Escobar.

Noriega was initially sentenced in the United States in 1992 but was serving a sentence for murder in Panama when he died.