PANAMA CITY – Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Antonio Noriega, 83, is in stable but “critical” condition after the two brain operations he underwent, although he has not had any renewed bleeding, sources close to the former general told EFE on Thursday.
“The health situation is still critical. He’s going to be under deep sedation until the doctors feel that it’s time to wake him up,” Noriega’s attorney, Ezra Angel, told EFE.
The former strongman underwent surgery on Tuesday for a benign brain tumor at the country’s largest public hospital and, after hemorrhaging, he had to be taken back into surgery the same day.
Since then, he has been sedated in the intensive care unit of Santo Tomas Hospital in the capital, with his three daughters and dozens of communications media personnel on hand to monitor events.
“There is no new bleeding and doctors will be evaluating his situation daily,” the attorney said.
Angel, who is in charge of keeping the media informed in the matter, also said that the family of Noriega, who governed Panama as its de facto leader from 1983-1989, when he was toppled by a bloody US invasion, “is upset and very concerned.”
The former dictator, who on Monday was admitted to the hospital suffering from assorted health issues appropriate to his age that had become aggravated because of the tumor, had been incarcerated in the El Renacer prison from his 2011 return to Panama until Jan. 28, when he was granted temporary house arrest on the recommendation of doctors.
Noriega’s physicians said that prison was not the proper place for pre- and post-operative preparation and recovery.
The former strongman was extradited to Panama on Dec. 11, 2011, after serving more than 20 years in prison in the US and France for drug trafficking and money laundering.
In Panama, he is serving three sentences totaling more than 60 years behind bars for the disappearance and murder of leftist guerrilla Hugo Spadafora, for the death of opposition military commander Moises Giroldi and for the so-called 1989 Albrook Massacre.