‘General Noriega’s reckless threats and attacks upon Americans in Panama created an imminent danger to the 35,000 American citizens in Panama. As president, I have no higher obligation than to safeguard the lives of American citizens.’
– US President George H.W. Bush, 1989, making the case for the invasion of Panama. Like Saddam Hussein, General Manuel Noriega was a favoured ally of the United States who turned a blind eye to his drug trafficking while he aided the Contras in their proxy war against the Sandanistas in Nicaragua until he came to be perceived as an obstacle to US interests in Panama, whereupon it was determined that he was a brutal dictator and an enemy of freedom and had to go. In Operation Just Cause the United States overthrew Noriega and installed a more respectable puppet who would follow orders, Guillermo Endara.