Panama The General Strikes Back

A defiant Noriega proves that for now, at least, he is still the boss

Every year around this time, the spring skies over Panama darken regularly with rumors of rain. A few drops usually fall, but the downpour that would ease the stifling 90 degrees heat never comes. To frustrated Panamanians, the weather this year provides a striking parallel to the political crisis that grips their country. Just as they long for rain, citizens yearn for the departure of General Manuel Antonio Noriega. But while Noriega faces a relentless combination of economic woes and widespread unrest, he still clings to power. Like the seemingly imminent rain, he stubbornly refuses to fall.

The general did far...

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