Getting to Know the Major

To Panama's incarcerated Maximum Leader, he is a link to the outside world. But who exactly is Rudolfo Castrell?

In the wake of receiving asylum and perhaps in preparation for his return home, Castrell again endeavors to obscure his tracks. His statement about seeking revenge against his enemies, like the CIA notation, it would appear, is no longer extant. "No, I will not persecute those men," he says now. "That task will be left up to God." He credits Noriega for helping him dispel his rage. "We speak about a lot of spiritual things," Castrell says. "He gives me advice and fills me with tranquility. He's the one who told me I should let God take care of revenge."

But Castrell is firm about returning to Panama. "I want to regain my position in the military and to work again for my country," he says. And he goes against the opinions of many legal experts by predicting that Rubino and May's upcoming appeal of Noriega's case will be successful and that the General himself will eventually return to Panama. Perhaps for that reason, he continues to guard his boss's reputation as closely as any secret. Unsmiling, the Panamanian exile offers one last suggestion before closing the door to his dark townhouse: "Don't write anything that's going to harm the General.

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