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Judi Lynn

(161,081 posts)
Thu Dec 26, 2013, 02:13 AM Dec 2013

Contras, Dirty Money and CIA

Contras, Dirty Money and CIA

December 19, 2013

[font size=1]
Vice President George H.W. Bush meets with Panamanian
Gen. Manuel Noriega in 1983 as Noriega was being
recruited to aid Nicaraguan Contra rebels, in line with
President Ronald Reagan’s secret policies. Bush served
as CIA director in 1976.[/font]

From the Archive: On Dec. 20, 1989, President George H.W. Bush ordered the invasion of Panama to arrest Gen. Manuel Noriega on drug charges. The U.S. news media viewed the assault as a case of Bush seeking justice, but there was a darker back story of U.S. guilt, as Robert Parry reported in 1997.

By Robert Parry (Originally published in 1997)

On the afternoon of Oct. 2, 1987, John F. Molina, a 46-year-old Cuban with the look of a Latin Sean Connery, sauntered from the stylish Panama City offices of the law firm, Sucre y Sucre. Molina and his companion, Enrique Delvalle, had been clearing up business that they had with lawyers who had created shell corporations for an arms supply network for the Nicaraguan Contra rebels. The two men stepped out onto the busy street and climbed into Molina’s red Mitsubishi four-wheel-drive vehicle.

Without their noticing, a young bushy-haired man with a moustache darted toward the car. The young man raised a .32-caliber pistol, pointed it at Molina’s head and fired three times. Molina slumped across the front seat. For a moment, Delvalle thought Molina was reaching toward the opposite side door. Then, Delvalle realized that John Molina was dead.

The gunman fled on foot. He was chased and cornered by an armed bystander, and then was arrested by Panamanian police. In custody, the killer identified himself as Maximillano Casa Sanchez, a Colombian hit man. Casa Sanchez told police that Colombian narcotraffickers had sent him to Panama to rub out Molina over a drug debt.

In the following days, La Republica, a newspaper allied with then-dictator Manuel Noriega, played up the drug angle — and Molina’s ties to Noriega’s political enemies in the Cruzada Civilista. The newspaper also noted that in the 1970s, Molina was president of UniBank, or the Union de Bancos, the Panamanian outpost for the WFC Corp., a shadowy money-laundering network earlier known as World Finance Corporation and run by Miami-based Cuban-Americans with close ties to the CIA.


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