The goal of the invasion of Panama by the United States in December 1989 was to capture dictator Manuel Noriega and force him to stand trial in the United States for drug trafficking.
Noriega had been a U.S. ally during the Central American civil wars of the 1980s, but was suspected of being a middleman in bringing illegal drugs from Latin America to the United States.
About 24,000 U.S. troops invaded this nation of 2.7 million people, which is a population roughly as big as Chicago’s. Hundreds of Panamanians were killed. Damage was estimated at $2 billion.
Democratic government was restored, but the drug trade continued and a former associate of Noriega, Ernesto Perez Balladeres, was eventually elected president in 1994.
Meanwhile, the economy was in a shambles, prompting some Panamanians to leave.
Actress Madeleine Stowe is half British American, half Costa Rican. The dark-haired star of such films as The Last of the Mohicans (1992) was born in Los Angeles in 1958.