Ex-Dictator Manuel Noriega Sues Activision over Call of Duty

Manuel Noriega, former dictator of Panama, filed lawsuit yesterday against Activision Entertainment for the use of his image in Call of Duty: Black Ops II.

The Black Ops character, named Manuel Noriega and carrying the dictator’s image, aids the CIA and later betrays them. The character then becomes the target of “Operation Just Cause,” or the US invasion of Panama.

Noriega claims Activision unjustly frames him “as a kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state,” all while using his image “to heighten realism” and bring increased sales to the publishers, according to Courthouse News. The ex-dictator now seeks lost profits and damages.


While Americans have rights over their own publicity, it is unclear whether Noriega’s claims will hold any weight, as he is not a US citizen or resident. 

From the late 1950s to the 1980s, Manuel Noriega worked with the CIA as an informant. Eventually, the US became concerned with the dictator’s widespread corruption and drug trafficking. American forces invaded Panama in 1989, and convicted Noriega for his crimes. Manuel Noriega now resides in Panama, serving time for human rights violations committed during his rule.

With Lindsay Lohan suing Rockstar over a GTA V character and Kim Jong Un declaring The Interview an “act of war,” does the industry need any more lawsuits and dictators? Will Noriega, convict for nearly two decades, find justice in the US legal system against a video game depicting him as, well, a less than cuddly dictator? Stay tuned to find out on the next episode of violent dictators being really weird.


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