August 3, 1989
Mediators from the Organization of American States have launched a fourth round of talks in Panama City with Panamanian opposition and government leaders to try to end a political crisis before a constitutional deadline expires in a month. The OAS team met separately with opposition leaders and a representative of strongman Gen. Manuel A. Noriega.
December 21, 1989 |
Last May, Guillermo Endara, a rotund, affable Panamanian lawyer, ran for election as president of Panama against the hand-picked candidate of Gen. Manuel A. Noriega. Independent exit polls showed he won by a margin of 3 to 1. On Wednesday, after more than seven months, Endara was sworn in--by a Panamanian judge during post-midnight ceremonies at a U.S. military base as American troops were launching their military drive against Noriega.
July 16, 1989
The Panamanian government dominated by strongman Gen. Manuel A. Noriega and the democratic opposition agreed to direct talks aimed at ending the country's political crisis, an international negotiating team said. Representatives of the government, the armed forces and the pro-government National Labor Coalition were to meet this afternoon with the Civil Democratic Opposition Alliance in talks that will not "exclude any subject," a four-member Organization of American States team said.
April 28, 1989 |
President Bush on Thursday accused Panamanian strongman Manuel A. Noriega of "systematic fraud" in attempting to block free elections in that country. Panama has scheduled elections May 7, but Bush said in a statement released before an appearance here that "the Noriega regime has taken steps to commit systematic fraud." "Through violence and coercion, it threatens and intimidates Panamanian citizens who believe in democracy," he said, adding that the United States "will not recognize fraudulent election results engineered by Noriega."
December 23, 1989 |
Ever since the late Arnulfo Arias Madrid, Panama's last honestly elected president, was deposed by the old National Guard in October, 1968, civilian government in that country has functioned as a facade for military rule. A so-called National Assembly of Representatives, a body of 510 elected community delegates, drafted a new constitution in 1972 and named a civilian to be president. But it gave dictatorial powers to Gen.
August 29, 1998 |
At best, the struggle is between continuity in a time of crisis and the democratic tradition of handing over the reins of government to a successor. At worst, it's about lust for power and jealousy. By Sunday, Panamanians must sort the lofty ideals from the personal ambitions to decide in a referendum whether their presidents--particularly their current president, Ernesto Perez Balladares--can run for reelection.