Archive for December 5th, 2010

During 1983-1989 Manuel Antonio Noriega was the military dictator of Panama.  The 1989 invasion of Panama by the United States removed him from power; he was captured, detained as a prisoner of war, and flown to the United States.

Noriega was tried on eight counts of drug trafficking, racketeering, and money laundering in April 1992. Noriega’s U.S. prison sentence ended in September 2007; pending the outcome of extradition requests by both Panama and France, for convictions in absentia for murder in 1995 and money laundering in 1999, respectively.

France was granted its extradition request in April 2010. He arrived in Paris on April 27, 2010, and after a re-trial as a condition of the extradition, he was found guilty and sentenced to seven years in jail in July 2010.

Noriega was a cruel man and ran the country with an iron fist.  During his regime thousands of Panamanians, members of the Cruzada Civilista, were detained and tortured within the walls of the Departamento Nacional de Investigaciones—DENI.  This was the most feared government institution in the country.  It was the headquarters of military intelligence.  Detainees were raped, tortured and interrogated in this house of terror.

After the fall of Noriega, the DENI was abolished and its building was transformed into a police station to fight crime in the neighborhood of Casco Viejo.

Below is a picture of how the former DENI looks now.  President Martinelli is currently engaged in fighting common crime, drug trafficking, money laundering, and gang-related activities.  It’s an uphill battle due to the enormous resources used by the Colombian and Mexican drug cartels.  A significant part of the national budget has been allocated to fight crime.  Martinelli is committed to take a bite out of crime.  We are fully supporting his law enforcement cause.

The DENI building used to house the feared Departamento Nacional de Investigaciones during the terror regime of General Manuel Antonio Noriega in Panama during 1983 to 1989. Photo ©Omar Upegui R.

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