On December 20, 1989, the United States began “Operation Just Cause,” a large-scale invasion of Panama conducted to remove its leader, General Manuel Noriega, from power. 
 
Noriega had been a Cold War ally of the United States since the 1970s. He supported the U.S. in the containment of communism in Central America. However, Noriega was also a dictator who helped make Panama a haven for drug trafficking and also accepted aid from communist nations such as Cuba, Nicaragua, and Libya.
 
Operation Just Cause was protested by the United Nations, the Organization of American States, and other international organizations. Nevertheless, Noriega was convicted of drug trafficking, racketeering, and money laundering—the first time that a U.S. jury convicted a foreign leader in a criminal case. He served prison sentences in the United States, France, and Panama for his crimes. Noriega passed away in 2017. 
ally
Noun

person or group who supports and cooperates with another person or group.

Cold War
Noun

(1947-1991) conflict between the Soviet Union (and its allies) and the United States (and its allies). The two sides never confronted each other directly.

communism
Noun

type of economy where all property, including land, factories and companies, is held by the government.

containment
Noun

act or policy of limiting the spread of an idea or influence.

convict
Verb

to find someone guilty of an illegal act.

criminal case
Noun

legal dispute involving the government.

dictator
Noun

person with complete control of a government.

drug trafficking
Noun

buying, selling and transporting of illegal drugs.

haven
Noun

safe place.

Noun

unit made up of governments or groups in different countries, usually for a specific purpose.

invasion
Noun

an attack or move to take possession.

Noun

group of people selected to determine facts in a specific case.

money laundering
Noun

process by which the financial proceeds from a criminal activity are made to appear "clean"—as if they were profits from legal activities.

prison
Noun

buildings that house convicted criminals and people accused of a crime and awaiting trial.

protest
noun, verb

demonstration against a policy or action.

racketeering
Noun

behavior in which a person or organization establishes a "racket," or organized illegal activity.

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