Former Panama dictator Noriega cremated
PANAMA CITY, Panama – The body of former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega was cremated on Tuesday, May 30, a day after the 83-year-old died in a Panama City hospital, a friend of the family told reporters.
The private ceremony was attended by only a handful of relatives – among them his 3 daughters – and friends at a crematorium in the capital.
His ashes were given to his widow.
"It was a farewell as the family wished. The ashes will be held by his wife Felicidad," said Ruben Murgas, a friend of Noriega's and a former director of state radio during the strongman's reign.
"It was difficult to make happen because right up to the last moment there were a great deal of obstacles," Murgas said without elaborating.
He added that no autopsy had been performed because Noriega "died in the hospital."
He did not give the cause of death.
Noriega died on Monday in Panama City's Santo Tomas Hospital where he had been recovering from surgery in March to remove a benign brain tumor, and a subsequent operation to stem cerebral bleeding.
The ex-dictator was granted temporary release from prison, where he had been serving three consecutive 20-year terms for the disappearances of opponents during his 1983-1989 rule.
Noriega was ousted from power by a US military invasion in December 1989 and went on to serve time in US and French prisons before being deported back to Panama.
Noriega was "a man who learned to make the most of prison," said Murgas, who appeared distressed at the gates of the crematorium.
He said he believed Panama would now "have to know the truth" about Noriega, who he said was a different person than the one depicted in media and historical accounts. – Rappler.com