Profiling Panama before and after Noriega’s Return

Sunday, January 5, 2014: 11:00 AM
Columbia Hall 3 (Washington Hilton)
Margaret Scranton, University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Gen. Manuel Noriega's return to Panama spurred a flurry of speculation in the local and international press about what his return means both for and about Panama today.  Few analyses attempted to answer this question, focusing instead on the spectacle of the return.  This paper draws profiles of governance and politics in Panama at two times:  when Noriega left in 1990 and when he returned in 2011.  I consider the opportunity spaces for leadership that existed for Noriega prior to the US invasion and then evaluate these spaces in terms of current political conditions, making a "bookends" assessment of Panama's transition to democracy.
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