Manuel Noriega Begins His Long, Unplanned French Vacation This Morning

As our own dearly departed Calvin Godfrey pointed out in 2007, Manuel Noriega and Miami really and truly deserved each other.

Manuel Noriega Begins His Long, Unplanned French Vacation This Morning

"Where else does a corrupt, militant South American cocaine trafficker really belong anyway?" he wrote. "Certainly not France. All of his friends are here."

Maybe that's why poor Manny is enjoying his forced vacation to Paris even less than the Griswalds.

Noriega, who was deposed as Panamanian dictator in a 1989 U.S. invasion and then spent 20 years in the Federal Correctional Institute in South Miami-Dade on drug charges, was shuttled onto an Air France flight yesterday morning.

Last night was the first of many for Noriega in Paris' La Sante prison. It wasn't easy for the 70-year-old strongman, his lawyer says.

"(Noriega) is an old man, tired and sick," his lawyer, Yves Leberquier, told the AP this morning.

Awww. We miss you too, Manny!

French prosecutors will try the dictator on new charges that he laundered cocaine profits by buying Parisian apartments.

Despite his heartache over leaving Miami behind, Noriega will fight the charges, his lawyer tells the AP.

"Mentally, he's getting stronger," Leberquier says. "He's a fighter."

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