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World

Daughters: Panama ex-Dictator Noriega Critical after Surgery

The tumor was detected in the months after Noriega returned to Panama in December 2011

In this Jan. 28, 2017, file photo, Panamanian ex-dictator Manuel Antonio Noriega, wearing a red baseball cap, arrives after being placed under house arrest for three months in Panama City, photo: AP/Arnulfo Franco
5 months ago

PANAMA CITY – Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega suffered a hemorrhage after surgery Tuesday to remove a benign brain tumor and was in critical condition, his daughters reported.

Thays and Sandra Noriega said their 83-year-old father was returned to the operating room at the Santo Tomas public hospital in Panama City after doctors detected bleeding following the operation. He had been in intensive care.

“His condition is grave and we are waiting for the second surgery to be concluded,” Thays Noriega told reporters by phone.

Calls to the hospital seeking comment rang unanswered.

The tumor was detected in the months after Noriega returned to Panama in December 2011 and was imprisoned for corruption and the killings of political opponents in the 1980s.

Doctors have said it grew unexpectedly recently and threatened the life of the former strongman, who has also suffered from vascular ailments and gets around in a wheelchair.

Noriega was transferred to house arrest Jan. 29 to prepare for the procedure, which was originally scheduled for mid-February.

Noriega, a former general, ruled Panama with an iron fist during his 1983-89 regime. He was ousted by a U.S. invasion in 1989 and jailed for years in the United States on drug charges.

He was then imprisoned in France for money laundering, before being returned in 2011 to Panama, where he had already been convicted in absentia.

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