When Did the Invasion of Panama Occur?


Quick Answer

On Dec. 20, 1989, the United States invaded Panama to arrest Noriega for charges in conjunction with the drug trade. President George H. Bush ordered the planned invasion after the fatal shooting of a U.S. Marine by Panamanian forces on Dec. 16, 1989.

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Full Answer

Manuel Noriega, who was the Panamanian ruler at the time, accepted defeat on Jan. 3, 1990. More than 150 Panamanian soldiers and 500 Panamanian civilians died in the conflict, while 23 American forces and three American civilians died. The international community admonished the U.S. for the invasion. Noriega faced trial in an American court, which found him guilty on multiple accounts of racketeering, money laundering and drug trafficking. He was given a 40-year prison sentence.

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