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Invasion of Panama - Background and Links

Invasion of Panama: Operation JUST CAUSE

On December 20, 1989, the United States broke both international law and its own government policies by invading Panama in order to bring its President Manuel Noriega to justice for drug trafficking.

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Noriega had seized control of his country back in 1983 when he became head of the National Guard. From this position of power, he was able to build up the military and manipulate elections so that the winning presidents would be his puppet leaders.

Corruption was widespread during Noriega's rule, and he was able to use his power to imprison and sometimes kill any who opposed him. In 1987 a former officer of the Panamanian defense force publicly accused Noriega of cooperating with Colombian drug producers.

The US responded by imposing strict sanctions that took an extensive toll on the country. On December 15, 1989, the Panamanian legislature declared Noriega president and that the US and Panama were in a state of war. Following the shooting of a U.S. Marine, President George Bush ordered Operation Just Cause, an invasion consisting of over 25,000 soldiers. The mission was controversial due to the resulting loss of hundreds of Panamanian lives and the subsequent damage to Panama City and El Chorillo.

The military was able to quickly achieve its goals as Noriega surrendered on January 3, 1990. He was taken to the US, tried, convicted and jailed on drug trafficking charges and is currently serving his 40-year sentence in Miami.


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Related Links
Panama @ HistoryChannel.com - Offers articles on the country along with videos for sale.

Historical Resources Branch - The Army offers an overview of participating units, a glossary and the order of battle for the Panamanian Defense Force.

Operation Just Cause - Find an overview and related articles on the U.S. invasion of Panama from the Federation of American Scientists.

Just Cause Snapshots - Access a collection of photos from the American invasion of Panama.

Lessons Learned - Provides a summary of key events along with histories for the U.S. military units that participated in the invasion.

PSYOP in Panama - Learn about the effectiveness of the loudspeaker teams and the strengths of the Panamanian opposition.

Operation Just Cause Album - View a collection of images that were taken during the U.S. invasion of Panama.



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