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Panama: Authorities Exhume Remains of Victims From 1989 U.S. Invasion

The exhumation of the remains of several unidentified victims from the 1989 U.S. invasion of Panama continued in Panama City on Wednesday.

Footage shows workers undertaking the exhumation in a cordoned-off area of Jardin de Paz cemetery in the Panamanian capital, after which DNA testing will take place in order to identify the victims.

“Only 10 remains need to be exhumed to be moved, that will make a total of 34 remains that will be moved to the judicial morgue and then, in stage three, make the respective analysis of all the findings found and later make the DNA tests to compare with the relatives,” said Maribel Caballero, a prosecutor from the Public Ministry of Panama.

The exhumation work was approved by local authorities after the Panama Truth Commission provided evidence three years ago of nearly 20 disappearances during the U.S. military’s ‘Operation Just Cause.’

The invasion, which led to the ousting and arrest of long-time leader Manuel Antonio Noriega, saw more than 20,000 US troops deployed to Panamanian soil on December 20, 1989. Over 3,000 people, including many civilians, are believed to have died during the invasion, with a precise total difficult to estimate due to the use of mass graves.

Noriega, who was prosecuted for drug trafficking, served time in the US, France, and Panama, before his death in 2017 at age 83.

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