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Chronicle of Noriega Upheaval With PM-Panama, Bjt

October 4, 1989

Undated (AP) _ Here is a chronology of key events related to the Noriega regime in Panama:



Armed forces chief Gen. Omar Torrijos dies in plane crash.


March - Three of Torrijos’ colonels, Manuel Antonio Noriega, Ruben Dario Paredes and Roberto Diaz Herrera cut deal to resolve power struggle. Paredes takes over as armed forces chief and agrees to retire in August 1983, leaving Noriega to take over, with Diaz Herrara as second-in-command. Noriega promises to deliver 1984 presidential election to Paredes.


August - Noriega takes over as commandante of armed forces. Panamanian legislature passes law creating Panamanian Defense Forces with control over National Guard, other Panamanian military and police forces, canal matters, and functions such as immigration control and regulation of civilian aircraft. Noriega reneges on Paredes deal and installs his own president in 1984 election.


June - Diaz Herrera, retiring as second-in-command, accuses Noriega of drug-related activities, rigging 1984 election and murdering Dr. Hugo Spadafora, former vice minister of health who accused Noriega of drug trafficking.

June 9 - Protest movement demands probe into Diaz Herrera’s allegations and return to democracy. Street protests are crushed brutally.


Feb. 4 - Federal grand jury in Miami indicts Noriega on drug-running charges. Grand jury in Tampa returns similar indictments.

Feb. 25 - President Eric Delvalle, who was put in place by Noriega, announces he has fired his patron.

Feb. 26 - Noriega-dominated National Assembly ousts Delvalle, who goes into hiding. Washington continues to recognize him as head of state. Education Minister Manuel Solis Palma named minister in charge of presidency. Noriega opponents call general strike. Government closes opposition news media.

March 3 - U.S. courts block withdrawal of Panama funds from U.S. banks.

March 11 - President Reagan imposes sanctions, including eliminating trade preferences for Panama and withholding Panama Canal fees.

March 14 - Public employees riot after government is unable to pay wages.

March 16 - Coup organized by Defense Forces officers against Noriega fails. Demonstrations erupt in capital and power outage blacks out nation.

March 28 - Troops disperse thousands of anti-government marchers and storm Marriot Hotel, beating and arresting opposition activists and journalists. Several are injured and dozens arrested in one of biggest protests in months.

April 9 - United States announces economic sanctions prohibiting American companies and government from making payments to Panamanian government. Some $56 million in Panamanian funds in American banks are frozen. United States tries to negotiate Noriega’s departure without success.

May 9 - Banks reopen but with severe restrictions, including a freeze on savings accounts.

Aug. 21 - U.S. accuses Panamanian authorities of 240 incidents of harrassment of American military personnel in 1988.


May 7-9 - Presidential election pits Noriega candidate against opposition candidate Guillermo Endara. Noriega’s victory claim countered by rioters as well as international observers who say ballots were rigged. Former President Carter, a U.S. observer, denounces Noriega for stealing election. White House says independent exit polling showed Noriega’s slate losing by 3-to-1 margin.

May 10 - Government nullifies election before final results released, citing fraud and international interference. Endara and his two running mates beaten and a bodyguard killed by civilian thugs as defense forces look on. Police break up opposition demonstration with gunfire and tear gas.

May 11 - President Bush orders 2,000 additional U.S. troops to Panama, joining 10,000 already there.

Sept. 1 - Provisional President Francisco Rodriguez takes office, but de- facto leader remains Noriega.

Oct. 3 - Attempted coup against Noriega fails.

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