Manuel Noriega has passed away. The former Panamanian dictator was ousted from power in 1989 when the US invaded his country. He was later extradicted to the United States on charges of murder. Noriega was relic from another era.

Noriega was once a useful ally to the CIA during the Cold War. He was an asset in the fight against left wing regimes in Central America. Like a lot of strongmen, he was not squeamish about using violence to acheive his aims. Washington was not averse about using brutal men like him to fight the good fight against Communism. He was their son of a bitch.

We are told that Noriega was also involved in money laundering and drug dealing. There is no way that Washington would not have known that he was working with cocaine barons. As is often the case, this minor detail would have been overlooked or contextualised even though the product would have found its way to American cities and destroyed lives.

The late journalist Gary Webb exposed the dirty alliance between drug dealers and the CIA especially to fund the secret war in Nicaragua. No doubt Noriega would have been a part of this. I wonder what secrets he took to the grave?

Like all strongmen before and since, there comes a point when Washington will no longer need you or when a line is crossed.Noriega disrupted the Presidential elections in Panama. He had to go. President Bush ordered an invasion in 1989 using protection of th Canal Zone as a pretext. Noriega's fate was sealed. He was no longer useful to Washington. Noriega's late was similar to that of another onetime CIA asset called Saddam Hussein.Whatever happened to him?