Eric Arturo Delvalle

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Eric Arturo Delvalle Cohen-Henríquez
President of Panama
In office
September 28, 1985 – February 26, 1988
Preceded by Nicolás Ardito Barletta
Succeeded by Manuel Solis Palma
Vice President of Panama
In office
1984 – September 28, 1985
Preceded by Carlos Ozores
Succeeded by Roderick Esquivel
Personal details
Born (1937-02-02)February 2, 1937
Political party Republican Party
Spouse(s) Mariela Delvalle

Eric Arturo Delvalle Cohen-Henríquez (born February 2, 1937) is a former Panamanian president under military ruler Manuel Noriega. He served as Vice President under Nicolás Ardito Barletta following the disputed 1984 election, and after Barletta's forced resignation, Delvalle served as President of Panama from September 28, 1985 to February 26, 1988. In 1988, he attempted to remove Noriega as head of the armed forces, but was himself deposed by the Legislative Assembly, going into hiding and eventually exile.


Delvalle was born in Panama City. [1] His brother Raúl is a former member of the National Assembly (1984–1989). Both he and his uncle, Max Delvalle, were members of the Kol Shearit Israel Synagogue. His uncle Max was the first Jewish president in Latin America.[2] He belonged to the Republican Party founded by his family.


He was elected as Nicolás Ardito Barletta's Vice President in the disputed 1984 election, and after Barletta's forced resignation he served as President of Panama from September 28, 1985 to February 26, 1988. Delvalle's presidency occurred during Manuel Noriega's de facto military rule of the country, and he was loyal ally of Noriega for much of his administration.

In 1986, US Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs Elliot Abrams openly called on the Panamanian military to overthrow Noriega and suggested that it could lead to the restoration of military aid. The Delvalle government protested, filing a complaint with the Organization of American States; sixteen Latin American states joined Panama in condemning the US statement.[3]

After Noriega's indictment on February 4, 1988 by the US Drug Enforcement Administration, Delvalle unsuccessfully attempted to remove Noriega from his formal post as head of the Panamanian Defense Forces. Instead, Noriega's allies in the Legislative Assembly voted on February 22 to oust Delvalle as president, appointing Education Minister Manuel Solis Palma in his place.[4][5] Delvalle then went into hiding with the help of the American government.[4] Though initially stating that he intended to remain in Panama,[6] Delvalle soon went into the exile in the US.[5] The administration of US President Ronald Reagan refused to recognize the legitimacy of Delvalle's successors and continued to officially support the legitimacy of Delvalle's presidency until his term's official ending in late 1989.[4]

Delvalle and his Noriega-appointed successors are nicknamed the "Kleenex presidents" in Panama due to their "disposability".[7]

In 1994, he was pardoned by President Guillermo Endara for any crimes committed during the Noriega years.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Delvalle is married to Mariela Delvalle.[9]


  1. ^ Gumbo Yearbook. Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Louisiana State University. 1955. LD3118 .G8 1954. 
  2. ^ "Panama: Stability In The Cradle Of Transience". World Jewish Congress. 2005. Retrieved December 10, 2008. 
  3. ^ Harding 2006, p. 106.
  4. ^ a b c Glenn J. Antizzo (2010). U.S. military intervention in the post-Cold War era : how to win America's wars in the twenty-first century. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press. p. 43. ISBN 978-0-8071-3642-3. 
  5. ^ a b Harding 2006, p. 108.
  6. ^ William Branigan (February 28, 1988). "Panama's President In Hiding; Delvalle Flees Home As Military Orders His Expulsion". Washington Post.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved September 30, 2012. 
  7. ^ Harding 2006, p. 100.
  8. ^ "Briefs". St. Louis Post-Dispatch ( – via Questia (subscription required)). Reuters. June 7, 1994. Retrieved September 30, 2012. 
  9. ^ William Branigin (March 10, 1988). "Wife of Panama's Ousted President Asks U.S. to Be Ready to Invade". Washington Post.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved September 30, 2012. 


  • Robert C. Harding (2006). The History of Panama. Greenwood Press. ISBN 031333322X. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Carlos Ozores
First Vice President of Panama
Succeeded by
Roderick Esquivel
Preceded by
Nicolás Ardito Barletta
President of Panama
Succeeded by
Manuel Solís