Manuel Noriega, former Panama dictator, dead at 83

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Manuel Noriega, the former military dictator of Panama, has died at age 83. (AP Photo)

A source close to the family of former Panamian dictator Manuel Noriega confirms he has died at the age of 83.

The onetime U.S. ally was ousted as Panama's dictator by an American invasion in 1989.

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Noriega later served a 17-year drug sentence in the United States.

He spent the first two decades after his ouster in U.S. and French jails and the final years of his life in a Panamanian prison for murder of political opponents during his 1983-89 regime.

Noriega accused Washington of a "conspiracy" to keep him behind bars and tied his legal troubles to his refusal to cooperate with a U.S. plan aimed at toppling Nicaragua's leftist Sandinista government in the 1980s.

In recent years, Noriega had suffered various ailments, including high blood pressure and bronchitis.

In 2016, doctors detected the rapid growth of a benign brain tumor that had first been spotted four years earlier. In January of this year, a court granted him house arrest to prepare for surgery on the tumor.

Noriega is survived by his wife, Felicidad, and daughters Lorena, Thays and Sandra.
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