Remembering Noriega’s infamous ouster

Mike Krumboltz

Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega returned to his home country on Sunday after spending 22 years in prisons in the United States and France on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering. The 77-year-old still isn't a free man, though. Immediately upon arrival, he was taken to Panama's El Renacer prison to serve more time.

The return of Noriega spurred a massive amount of searches on Yahoo!, especially on his ouster from rule 22 years ago and the tactics U.S. troops used during the 1989-1990 Panama intervention, known as Operation Just Cause. American troops played loud rock music during the siege because, according to legend, Noriega loathed it.

Over the past 24 hours, online searches for "noriega music" and "manuel noriega rock and roll" both jumped. Clearly, people want to know which songs the troops blasted at Noreiga's stronghold in the Vatican Embassy in 1990. The most famous example is, of course, "Panama" by Van Halen. But, according to documents from the National Security Archive, that was just one of many tunes.

Other songs either requested by the troops or played during the mission included "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns N' Roses, "The End" by The Doors, and "We're Not Gonna Take It" by Twisted Sister. Later during the operation, the selections followed a more topical theme, with lyrics clearly aimed at Noriega and the bid for his ouster. A few examples: "(You've Got) Another Thing Coming" by Judas Priest, "All Over But the Crying" by Georgia Satellites, and "All I Want Is You" by U2.

For complete lists of the songs requested by troops, click here, here, and here.