PANAMA CITY .- Since he’s 10, he has dedicated his life to peddlers’. Not only he express it from his job, but his main argument about the positive aspect of the Manuel Antonio Noriega era is that he protected the peddlers "so they would not take away the work we had and that was a real support "Emphasizes Andrés Lee González, who also has ties since childhood with the Panamanian ex-dictator.
Lee is 80 years old. During his childhood he lived in a sector called El Terraplén where he was a neighbor of the former strongman of Panama. He has memories of childhood that according to him is part of his conversations with Noriega. However, after the question of what exactly said silence and secrecy arises: "I do not have much to tell you about that because he went to his school, he is three Years older than me, he had his friends, more adults."
After serving his sentence in the United States and France, in 2011, Manuel Antonio Noriega returns to Panama to continue in prison. "I was one of the first to visit him in jail," says Lee, who received from the ex-dictator the promise to see him again when he "came out of it."
In the 80s on several occasions. Although, only to deal with the issue of informal workers, "when we came to power, we met together with the entire trade union leadership and exchanged words on the labor side, we did not have that great friendship" said Lee, who represented the peddlers at that time.
In his work spot, located in the Central Avenue of the City of Panama, the seller has a series of photographs of Noriega. He takes advantage of that space to transmit his admiration to the ex-dictator and believes that they have not demonstrated any of the accusations that have made him. However, "I only give you my version, the truth nobody will tell you, I tell you only my truth. I cannot tell you if he was good or bad."
By Oscar Subarán