Immediate Aftermath
General Manuel Antonio Noriega’s Panama Defense Force (PDF) Headquarters, the Cuartel, sustained considerable damage when the U.S. military attacked with precision gunfire. A fire gutted the main Comandancia building.
 A U.S. military policeman guards the side entrance of the Cuartel.
Charred remains of buildings in Chorrillo are a result of Noriega’s Dignity Battalion tactics to set fire to residential buildings in the wake of the initial U.S. attack.
Debris from fires line Panama’s streets the day after the U.S. military action neutralized Noriega’s police force.
 Many automobiles and buildings were reduced to rubble during the Operation.
 Buildings in Chorrillo sustained heavy damages from a precision attack by U.S. Forces.
The good condition of the Balboa Police Station highlights the tactical U.S. attack. Noriega’s forces struggled, despite the PDF foxhole in the foreground.
 A U.S. military policeman searches a displaced Panamanian as others wait in line.
 After being searched, a displaced Panamanian walks to Balboa High School to be processed.
 Balboa High School was the shelter site for displaced Panamanians, provided by the U.S. military.
A member of the U.S. military walks toward an overturned airplane in Paitilla Airport. In the background sits a Marriott Hotel Rescue Vehicle.
A U.S. soldier surveys the wreckage of a small plane at Paitilla Airport. Four Navy SEAL servicemen were killed during the taking of the airport.
 Bullet holes riddle Manuel Antonio Noriega’s jet, which was shot at by U.S. forces at Paitilla Airport.
 A United States UH-58 helicopter lies on the ground after being shot down by the PDF near Fort Amador.
A group of civilians view the damage done to PDF buildings at Fort Amador. U.S. Infantry Units at Fort Amador opened fire with howitzers against the PDF’s Fifth Infantry Military Police Company.
 U.S. military police occupy the DENI Station near Panama’s Presidential Palace.
Major General James Johnson, 82nd Airborne Division, attends a briefing at Panama’s old Tocumen Airport, the PDF’s former Air Base.
A U.S. serviceman views the remains of what were once two-story buildings at the PDF’s Air Base at Tocumen. The buildings were leveled by U.S. Forces during the first night of Operation Just Cause.
U.S. Special Agent James R. Dibble briefs the press in the field of Occult Rites. Some of Noriega’s items he used practicing Santería are on display.
This list contains names of people – friend and foe – whom Noriega wanted to control by Santería. The list was found at Noriega’s house-temple at Fort Amador.
A U.S. Armored Personnel Carrier and concertina wire form one of several roadblocks set up near the Papal Nunciature, where Noriega took refuge before leaving to the United States to stand trial.
Masses of Panamanians demonstrate near the Papal Nunciature, demanding that Noriega leave the Nunciature and be brought to justice. Hours after the demonstration, Noriega was on his way to the United States.
 Citizens created signs expressing their opinions of the outcome of the Operation.
Panamanians demonstrating near the Papal Nunciature display this banner expressing their opinion of the U.S. military action. After Noriega left Panama, tens of thousands of Panamanians celebrated with dancing and all-night street parties.
These photographs and captions are from the series by Anonymous "Operation Just Cause" December, 1989 2011.999.097 Panama Canal Museum Collection, Special & Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida

This online exhibition is based on the exhibition of the same name that was presented at the Panama Canal Society Reunion, July 4 – 6, 2019 at the Orlando World Center Marriott, Orlando, Florida

Curated and designed by Elizabeth A. Bouton


Unless otherwise noted, all items are from the Panama Canal Museum Collection, Special & Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida