Panama's ex-dictator Manuel Noriega dies at 83

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Notorious Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, who was ousted from power by a U.S. invasion in 1989, has died aged 83. And while the cause of death wasn't immediately reported, Noriega had recently been dealing with complications from brain surgery; in March, it was reported that he was in a coma.

In recent years, Noriega had suffered various ailments, including high blood pressure and bronchitis.

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His death was announced on Tuesday morning by Panama's president Juan Carlos Varela, who said Noriega's death marked a closure in their country's history. He received occasional visits from friends, members of the clergy and his family, including his wife, Felicidad Sieiro de Noriega, and his three daughters, Thays, Sandra and Lorena, all of whom survive him.

He accused the USA government of a conspiracy to keep him imprisoned and blamed this legal troubles on his refusal to cooperate with a US plan to overthrow Nicaragua's leftist Sandinista government in the 1980s.

Noriega served as head of military intelligence for General Omar Torrijos, who led the military coup of 1968.

Carolina Cruz, a 65-year-old housewife, said "Noriega leaves open wounds".

-Aug. 31, 1989: With Noriega's backing, Francisco Rodriguez named provisional president after election annulled. During his rule, he established himself as a drug lord in partnership with the Medellin Cartel in Colombia. He also carries with him teddy bears dressed as paratroopers.

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The U.S. turned its back on Noriega especially after his top political opponent was killed in 1985 and he joined hands with drug traffickers.

Noriega was also facing prosecution for the disappearance of political opponent Heliodoro Portugal, whose remains were found shortly after Noriega's ouster by a USA invasion in December 1989.

A onetime USA ally and Central Intelligence Agency informant, Noriega died two months after undergoing surgery in Panama City to remove a benign tumor from his brain.

The wily military ruler of the Central American nation made world headlines as his relationship with Washington soured, culminating in the United States sending almost 28,000 troops to seize Panama City and capture him in a house-to-house hunt.

Drug Enforcement Agents help Noriega into a transport plane to Florida on Jan 4, 1990.

Noriega had temporarily left the Renacer prison on January 28 - where he was serving sentences for disappearances and murders - in order to undergo an operation.

In 2010 Noriega was extradited to France, where he was convicted of money laundering, then extradited to Panama the following year in poor health.

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