Roberto Eisenmann

Roberto Eisenmann is the editor of La Prensa, Panama’s leading daily newspaper, which was shut down and occupied by General Manuel Antonio Noriega’s troops in February 1988. A businessman and one-time president of the Panamanian Council of Private Enterprise, he was an early and vocal critic of the military dictatorship of General Omar Torrijos (1968–81). Abducted and deported to Ecuador along with other dissidents in 1976, Mr. Eisenmaizn spent the next three years in exile in Ecuador and Miami. Upon his return to Panama in 1979, he helped to found La Prensa as a public corporation with 700 stockholders. He also became the paper’s chief editor and oversaw its development as a major voice advocating press freedom and opposing the human rights abuses, electoral fraud, drug trafficking, and other offenses perpetrated under Noriega’s rule. In 1985–86 he held a Nieman Fellowship in journalism at Harvard University. Today, following a death threat from Noriega, Mr. Eisenmann is again living in exile in Miami.

Winter 1990, Volume 1, Issue 1

The Struggle Against Noriega

Over the past several years, the world has come to see the crisis in Panama mainly as a confrontation between the United States and Panama's military strongman, General Manuel Antonio Noriega. But this perception – reinforced lately by press reports on last October's failed coup attempt – is badly mistaken.