Clipped From The Miami News
Panama to clean MATT PRICHARO In the wake of a political storm caused by allegations that Panamanian Panamanian army commander Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega is heavily involved in drug trafficking, the Panamanian government apparently apparently has decided to strike back with a publicity campaign of its own. A 306-page 306-page 306-page report called "Panama: "Panama: 16 Years of Struggle Against Drug Traffic" was delivered to The Miami News yesterday by Joaquin Meza, Panamanian consul general in Miami. The report is compiled from documents, including letters and telegrams from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Enforcement Administration, ordered "declassified" by Panamanian President Eric Arturo del Valle. according to the report's brief foreword. The government of Panama," the report states, "shares the opinion opinion that drug trafficking Is one of the worst crimes against humanity, humanity, comparable with nuclear bombing of innocent people." Narijulia Lloyd, press attache with Panamanian Embassy In Washington, DC said the document document it being circulated to publicize publicize the efforts of the Panamanian government In working with the to curb drug flow. She said the Panamanian government is expected expected to pass a new law in September September which would provide for penalties of up to two years for anyone involved in making bank mounting drive up drug image I Hi..- Hi..- i - -ii.. -ii.. i.imiii J Gn. Noriega transactions with narcotics money. money. In an apparent reference to accusations accusations made in June against Noriega, and previous accusations against brothers of the late, popular popular Panamanian strongman Brig. Gen. Omar Torrijos. the report notes that "unfounded accusations against Panamanian officials appear appear sporadically. These accusations accusations are designed to incriminate said officials with illicit activities related to the drug traffic. "The circumstances and timing of these accusations, as well as the manner in which they have been made public have given the great majority of the Panamanian people good reason to react with a feeling of founded suspicion over the probable political intentions." The report states that due to Panama's historical role as a crossroads, crossroads, the country has been made a prime "transit route" for drugs. "Generally, the drugs are not distributed within the Panamanian territory, they simply pass through by air or maritime transport," transport," the report states. "For this specific reason, the Panamanian authorities have the capacity to intervene intervene solely when the drugs are disembarked, which happens in relatively few cases . . ." The report mentions such Panamanian Panamanian government actions as the 1984 takeover of the First Intera-mericas Intera-mericas Intera-mericas Bank of Panama, reputedly reputedly controlled by two "Colombian drug dealers." Another action was the September September 1985 eradication of 525 acres of marijuana in a joint effort by the Defense Forces of Panama and the U.S. government. Charts state that 382,244 grams of cocaine have been seized In 1986 by Panamanian forces and 36 persons have been deported for drug trafficking. According to extensive press reports reports in June, U.S. intelligence officials officials linked Noriega to money laundering, the drug trade, the passing of U S. technology and intelligence intelligence to Cuba, and the murder of Noriega political opponent Dr. Hugo Spadafora. Miami News reporter Nancy Moncrief l'hillip contributed to this story.