U.S. Bribery, Racism Alleged by Panama

From Associated Press

The government newspaper today claimed that the United States bribed the Organization of American States to pass a resolution calling for a transfer of power in Panama.

Panama’s de facto ruler, Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega, said in a radio interview that Washington’s desire to get rid of him is racially motivated.

“Panama asks for respect. It asks for freedom. For its sovereignty. The time of empires has ended. Why does the United States want an empire in Panama? Why? This is our only answer: because we are black,” the general told WBAI radio in New York in a telephone interview from Panama.


His comments, on WBAI’s “Undercurrents” program, came after the OAS unanimously approved a resolution Wednesday night to send three OAS foreign ministers to Panama as mediators in an effort to bring about a transfer of power through democratic means.

“The United States must change its attitude here in Panama. This is my message to your small radio station,” Noriega said.

The government newspaper La Critica contended that the United States promised to pay its debt to the OAS of $50 million in exchange for the passage of the resolution.