Attack on Guillermo Ford, 1999

 

Guillermo “Billy” Ford served as Vice-President of Panama from 1989 to 1994 but he was best remembered for this classic photo, which shows him beaten by thugs in the employ of Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega. Then a VP candidate, Ford and his presidential running-mate, Guillermo Endara, had defeated Noriega’s party in the democratic elections a few days prior.

At the end of a rally in support of Endara, a band of Noriega’s Dignity Battalion — nicknamed “Dig Bats” and called “Doberman thugs” by U.S. President Bush — attacked the crowd with wooden planks, metal pipes and guns. They grabbed a bodyguard of Ford, pushed him against a car, shoved a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. They also batted Ford’s head with a spike-tipped metal rod and pounded him with heavy clubs, turning his white guayabera bright red with blood — his own, and that of his dead bodyguard.


The photo taken by Ron Haviv (AFP) became one of the most famous images of 1989. It was put on the cover of TimeNewsweek, and U.S. News. It was the beginning of the end for Noriega. Ford embarked on a tour of Europe to meet British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti and Pope John Paul II. In December 1989, citing danger to the Canal, President Bush decided to militarily intervene in Panama. In his address to the nation, President Bush mentioned the photo as an argument in favor of the invasion.

Though Endara had opposed US military action during his campaign, he accepted the presidency, stating that, “morally, patriotically, civically I had no other choice”. He inaugurated at Fort Clayton, a United States military base in the Panama Canal Zone, on December 20, 1989, surrounded by 24,000 U.S. troops, heavy tanks and Combat Talon AC-130 gunships.

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0 thoughts on “Attack on Guillermo Ford, 1999

  1. PRIMERO ASESINARON A SU CHOFER Y EL LOGRA SALIR DEL CARRO Y ES CUANDO LO MALOGRAN ERAN LAS BRIGADAS DE CHOQUE DE NORIEGA LOS BATALLONES DE LA DIGNIDAD, ASI SE LLAMABAN FORMADAS DE ASESINOS, EXCONVICTOS, SICOPATAS, BAGOS Y MALEANTES , CON LA LLEGADA DE LOS MARINES DEJARON EL PELERO SOLTARON LAS ARMAS Y HUYERON,
    POSTERIORMENTE SIGUIERON DELINQUIENDO ERA SU OFICIO HAMPA COMUN.

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