Panama Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang

Noriega thwarts a coup, then tries to negotiate a slick, and safe, departure

For General Manuel Antonio Noriega, the crisis seemed to grow more desperate by the day. As Panama suffered through a worsening cash crunch and continuing street protests, the strongman faced a revolt by some officers of the once unswervingly loyal Panamanian Defense Forces. The rebellion erupted shortly after dawn last Wednesday: residents living near Noriega's Panama City headquarters heard the crack of gunfire from inside the iron-gated compound. Reports of a coup quickly swept the capital. The rumors grew until 9:30 a.m., when Noriega appeared at a window and waved. Wearing a white guayabera sport shirt, the general later ventured out...

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