Panama Sparring (Again) with a Dictator

As Washington predicts a rigged election, U.S. policy remains adrift

The U.S. called him Panama's top narcotraficante, indicted him in Florida and vowed to depose him. But General Manuel Antonio Noriega still runs the country, and even though he will not be standing for election on May 7, he looms as the power behind the throne. Polls show that Noriega's handpicked candidate for President, Carlos Duque, trails opposition candidate Guillermo Endara by more than 2 to 1. Yet U.S. officials and opposition leaders are convinced Duque will steal the election. They charge that evidence of government chicanery already abounds: manipulation of voter rolls to keep opponents from the polls, coercion of...

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