Carlos Duque

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Carlos Alberto Duque Jaén
Born March 12, 1930
Panama City, Panamá
Died October 31, 2014 (aged 84)
Panama City, Panamá
Nationality Panamanian
Occupation Businessman, Politician
Known for 1989 presidential campaign
Political party Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD)

Carlos Alberto Duque Jaén (March 12, 1930 – October 31, 2014) was a Panamanian businessman and politician who was President-for-Life of Panama's Partido Revolucionario Democrático (PRD). He was a presidential candidate for the PRD in the 1989 presidential election.[1]

1989 presidential candidacy[edit]

A former business partner of military ruler Manuel Noriega,[2] Duque was selected by Noriega to head the pro-Noriega Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) in 1988.[3] The following year, he stood as the party's presidential candidate.[4] Future PRD president Ernesto Pérez Balladares served as his campaign manager.[5]

Duque's primary rival for the presidency, Guillermo Endara, ran atop the ticket of the Democratic Alliance of Civic Opposition (ADOC), a coalition of parties opposed to Noriega. After the voting concluded, international observers reported that Endara's coalition was leading by a 3-to-1 margin, but the results were annulled by the Noriega government before counting was complete.[4] Noriega had planned to declare Duque the winner regardless of the actual results. However, by this time Duque knew he had been comprehensively defeated by Endara and refused to go along.[6]

The next day, Endara and one of his running mates, Guillermo Ford, were badly beaten by a detachment of Dignity Battalions, a paramilitary group supporting Noriega.[7][8] Endara was struck with an iron club and was briefly hospitalized, receiving eight stitches.[9] Images of the attack on Endara and Ford were carried by media around the world, and were credited with leading up to the US invasion that would soon follow.[8][10][11]

Post-election career[edit]

Duque was an opponent of the 1989 US invasion of Panama which deposed Noriega, calling it "the biggest error" and urging "nationalist parties" to battle US forces.[12] Several months after the invasion, US federal prosecutors accused Duque's company, Transit S.A., of funneling millions of dollars in kickbacks to the former ruler from a coffee-smuggling operation.[13]

In 1999, he worked on the campaign of PRD presidential candidate Martín Torrijos, son of former military ruler Omar Torrijos.[14] Martín Torrijos lost the presidential election that year to Mireya Moscoso, but went on to win in 2004.


  1. ^ "Muere Carlos Duque Jaén, presidente vitalicio del PRD" (in Spanish). October 31, 2014. 
  2. ^ Phillip Bennett (May 8, 1999). "Panama Casts Votes for Leader". The Boston Globe. Retrieved September 2, 2012.  (subscription required)
  3. ^ William Branigin (January 21, 1989). "Noriega Celebrates Reagan Departure; Panamanian Problem Remains Unsolved as Bush Takes Office". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 2, 2012.  (subscription required)
  4. ^ a b "Endara's Coalition Faces Difficult Test". Albany Times Union. Associated Press. December 21, 1989. Archived from the original on September 1, 2012. Retrieved August 31, 2012.  (subscription required)
  5. ^ Howard W. French (February 21, 1994). "Panama Journal; Democracy at Work, Under Shadow of Dictators". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 3, 2012. Retrieved September 2, 2012. 
  6. ^ Koster, R.M.; Guillermo Sánchez (1990). In the Time of the Tyrants: Panama, 1968–1990. New York City: Norton. ISBN 0-393-02696-5. 
  7. ^ Gregory Katz (May 11, 1989). "Panama Violence Spreads Thugs Attack 3 Anti-noriega Candidates". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Archived from the original on August 31, 2012. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Douglas Martin (September 30, 2009). "Guillermo Endara, Who Helped Lead Panama From Noriega to Democracy, Dies at 73". The New York Times. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Panama declares election result void; Endara hurt". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. May 11, 1989. Archived from the original on December 30, 2016. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  10. ^ Myra MacPherson (January 30, 1990). "Panama's Philosopher Pol;Ricardo Arias Calderon's Leap From Exiled Academic to Vice President". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 31, 2012.  (subscription required)
  11. ^ Phil Davison (October 2, 2009). "Guillermo Endara". The Independent. Retrieved August 31, 2012. (subscription required)
  12. ^ Alina Guerrero (December 20, 1990). "Noriega backers call invasion 'genocide'". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved September 2, 2012.  (subscription required)
  13. ^ "Noriega Tied To Smuggling Of Coffee;Kickbacks Alleged To Reach Millions". The Washington Post. February 15, 1990. Retrieved September 2, 2012.  (subscription required)
  14. ^ "Another Torrijos". The Economist.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). March 27, 1999. Retrieved 18 September 2012.