In usual "wrecking ball meets walnut" fashion.
In usual “wrecking ball meets walnut” fashion.

. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – CBS Radio – News and bulletins – December 19, 1989 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

If you happened to be around on this day, 25 years ago, no doubt you saw and heard an endless barrage of bulletins and reports about the U.S. invasion of Panama, taking place in the night-time hours of December 19-20, 1989.

Dubbed Operation Just Cause, it was designed to forcibly remove Panamanian military dictator Manuel Noriega who had seized power in a military overthrow in May of that year.

Wanted on drug trafficking charges, Noriega ignored calls to step down and restore the democratically elected government. And according to some reports, antagonizing behavior existed between Noriega’s military and U.S. personnel stationed in the country. The flash point occurred when Panama declared a state war had existed with the U.S. and PDF (Panamanian Defense Force) troops reportedly shot to death an unarmed American serviceman in Panama City, wounded another and beat a third and sexually threatened his wife. Under that scenario, President Bush decided to act and sent in a force of some 12,000 U.S. troops to remove Noriega and to reinstate the government Noriega had overthrown.

According to Panamanian radio, all Hell was breaking loose as U.S. troops landed and spread out over the city. According to Press Secretary Marlin Fitzwater, the U.S. was committed only to getting rid of Noriega and would leave as soon as that was accomplished.

But in the meantime, an invasion was happening and bulletins were flashing and breathless anticipation seized newsrooms every few minutes.

And that’s what was going on for the most part, this December 19, 1989 as reported by CBS Radio News.

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