February 26, 1988 – Characterized as a turbulent 18 hours in Panama, figurehead President Eric Arturo del Valle stunned the country by firing General Manuel Noriega who was his political godfather. The ploy didn’t work, as Noriega, with the backing of his military and National Assembly, put del Valle out of a job. He was replaced by Education Minister Manuel Solis Palma, who became the acting President. However, del Valle vowed to fight to maintain his power, even though the Assembly voted to strip del Valle of his guards, his escorts, his chauffeurs, thus rendering del Valle pretty much a moot point in Panamanian political affairs. However, del Valle insisted his was still the President of Panama. The move to unseat del Valle came from the persistent rumor that del Vale was under the influence of various foreign countries. On the surface, Panama City was calm as people waited to see what was next. The new President, a Noriega loyalist, announced what he called the “campaign of lies against Panama”, suggesting it was coming from the U.S. Meanwhile, Washington was watching and waiting.
There was other news – On the Israeli–occupied West Bank, troops shot and killed an Arab School teacher, youth and injured several others in clashes that followed prayer services. In East Jerusalem, hundreds of Palestinians gathered on the Temple Mount, shouting anti-Israeli slogans and throwing stones. It was against this background that Secretary of State Schulz began his round of peace talks in Jerusalem with the hopes of at least attempting peaceful outcomes.
And President Reagan said he didn’t think a Strategic Arms Treaty would be ready in time for the Spring Summit in Moscow with Mikhail Gorbachev. However he did say that he expected a START agreement to be signed by the time he leaves office.
And that’s a little of what went on, this February 26, 1988 as presented by The CBS World News Roundup.