Foreign Policy Blogs

The Panama Deception (1992)

The makers of this film have an axe to grind.
That being said, they make a lot of sense.
What The Panama Deception shows is how Manuel Noriega (referred to in the United States press as “Panamanian strongman”) went from ally to enemy in a few short years.
Once the first Bush presidency had no more use for Noriega, they made him public enemy number one.
His drug dealing and money laundering – to which the U.S. turned a blind eye for quite some time – suddenly became intolerable to the Bush administration.
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This documentary, made only two or three years after the December 1989 invasion of Panama by the U.S., also shows how complicit the media was in its coverage. It appears as if the press swallowed whole the American version of events and those reporters who tried to honestly cover the invasion were stonewalled.
This was the military operation that served as a proving ground for weapons used in the first gulf war. Not only were new munitions tested but also government control of the media.

The Panama Deception (1992)

The Panama Deception casts a light on the many poor people who were bombed out of their homes and never given any assistance to recover. They are truly victims without a voice.
The production values of this film are sorely lacking and the way the film wipes from scene to scene is amateurish.
The Panama Deception won the 1993 Academy Award for best documentary feature and was produced by the Empowerment Project.
The Panama Deception is available to rent.
Murphy can be reached at: [email protected]



Sean Patrick Murphy

Sean Patrick Murphy is a graduate of Bennington College, where he majored in politics and Latin American literature. He has worked for Current History magazine, Physicians for Human Rights, and Citizens for Global Solutions (formerly the World Federalist Association). He lives outside Philadelphia.

Areas of Focus:
Cinematography; Independent Films; Documentary;