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Manuel Noriega Playing All Sides Of the Fence Manuel Noriega the former dictator of the Central American country of Panama rose to power through the art of destruction deception and detail Manuel Noriega was able to profit and flourish as Panamas new leader because of the Cold War environment Due to the Cold War its geographical positioning and financial liberties Noriega was able to manipulate all parties involved while making him very wealthy powerful a political asset and finally a threat to the United States National Security Manuel Noriega was born in 1934 in Panama City Panama Noriega grew up very poor and could not afford any high level of education Like most who could not afford schooling he attended a military college in Peru His schooling in Peru would ultimately give him his start to gaining contacts friends and most importantly American connections To understand Noriegas rise to power first you must understand the environment in which he did so After World War II a communist movement began to slowly spread throughout the world This went against Americas belief in democracy and created a riff between the Soviet Union and The United States creating the Cold War What importance does this have to Noriega and Panama On January 1 1959 Fidel Castro led a successful coup against the government in Cuba which at the time was controlled by Fulgencio Batista By Castro taking control of the Cuban government he placed communism within a close range of America This was important because it was feared by most Americans that this takeover by Castro would lead a domino effect throughout Central America and third world countries further extending the arm of Communism and the reach of the Soviet Union During the same time Castro took control of Cuba Noriega was in the Peruvian military school America fearing that these third world military schools would be a breeding ground for future communist
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