US interference in Panamanian affairs continued in the 1980s, when the US grew tired of its long relationship with military strongman Manuel Noriega, whose drug dealings finally became too much for Washington to handle. In 1989, US Marines swooped into Panama City to take down Noriega’s regime. The ex-dictator was shipped off to the US where he was tried and convicted of numerous drug-related charges. Today, Noriega continues to sit in a US prison, despite being paroled, because of France’s fight to have Noriega extradited to serve time in French prison for other drug trafficking crimes.
(pages 4-6) (National Security Archive)
(by Mark Sullivan and Justin Rivas, Congressional Research Service) (PDF)
Mario E. Jaramillo has served as ambassador of Panama to the United States since February 2011.
Phyllis M. Powers has come a long way from her days as a medical technologist in the 1970s. Powers was nominated by President Barack Obama in July 2010 to become ambassador to Panama. She was confirmed by the Senate on August 8.
Barbara J. Stephenson was sworn in as the US Ambassador to Panama on July 10, 2008. Stephenson holds a bachelors, masters and PhD in English literature, all from the University of Florida. She speaks Spanish and Dutch and reads French.