National Day of Mourning

In the Panamanian presidential election of 1989, Guillermo Endara and Guillermo, (Billy) Ford ran as the candidates of an alliance of parties against Carlos Duque, the candidate of a pro-Noriega coalition.

The election results were annulled by the Panamanian Government on 10 May, because the United States donated money to the candidates.. The Endara alliance organized a count of results from the country’s election precincts before they were sent to the district centers, allegedly to safeguard against vote-rigging. This count organized by the Endara alliance showed Endara defeating Carlos Duque by a nearly 3-to-1 margin, the highest in Panamanian electoral history.

Noriega had planned to declare Duque the winner regardless of the actual results, but Duque refused to go along. Due to Duque’s refusal, Noriega called off the election and declared the results void. The next day, Endara and his running mates, Guillermo Ford, were badly beaten by a detachment of Dignity Battalions.

Ford gained international fame when this photo of an attack on him by a man hired by Manuel Noreiga, showing Ford “bloody but unbowed”, appeared on the cover of Time magazine, Newsweek, and U.S. News. After a rally in support of Endara and Ford, men with guns, pipes, and wooden planks attacked Ford and his entourage. United States president George H. W. Bush called the men hired by Noriega “Doberman thugs”. The iconic photo by Ron Haviv, of Ford in his white guayabera shirt splattered bright red with blood “became one of the most famous images of 1989. It was put on the cover of Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News.”

After the US invasion of 1989 Enara and Ford were sworn in as President and Vice President of Panama.

Guillermo Enara died shorty after the last Presidencial election in 2009, he had been a candidate. Billy Ford died 19 March 2011. The government of Panama has declared today a day of national mourning. For one of the men that literally gave his blood to help defeat the Noriega dictatorship

Most of the content above is from Wikipedia the photo Ron Haviv AFP.

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