Gen Marc Cisneros had a distinguished 35-year military career and was the highest-ranking Hispanic military officer by the time he retired in 1996. He fought in the legendary Tet offensive in Vietnam in the late 1960s. But it’s his role in the 1989 invasion of Panama – and what he did with Jimenez - that he will be most remembered for, perhaps. Crédito: Official photo, US Army.
U.S. began shelling the Panamanian naval infantry base at Coco Solo at 11.20pm on December 19, 1989. It was the initial assault during Operation Just Cause and was one of the few bases where The Penagon sid U.S. forces encountered resistance, led by Panamanian Captain Amadis Jiménez. Crédito: Courtesy of Amadis Jiménez.
During the invasion of Panama, Amadis Jiménez and Gen Marc are credited with convincing 75 percent of the Panamanian forces to surrender without a fight. "People describe Marc as having won the war with a telephone," said his former boss in Panama, Gen Fred Woerner. "He saw a way to accomplish the mission, and at the same time minimize the loss of life and destruction. He was the glue in Just Cause."
After being captured by US forces during the invasion of Panama, Captain Amadis Jiménez requested his phone book where he had the numbers of Noriega commanders at Panamanian bases throughout the country to help General Marc Cisneros convince them that they surrendered without further bloodshed. Crédito: Courtesy of Amadis Jiménez.
Gen Marc Cisneros talking to a reporter during a visit to the interior of Panama after the invasion. With Noriega in prison in the United States, and a new democratically-elected president, Guillermo Endara, installed in Panama, the focus of U.S. troops switched to reconstruction and “nation building.” David Adams / Univision
Gen Marc Cisneros at the end of his duty in Panama. Seen here with Gen Maxwell 'Mad Max' Thurman. Thurman didn’t trust the Spanish-speaking Texan. “It was two different mind sets. Thurman thought it was conventional warfare. He really didn’t like that Cisneros was the guy who knew what was going on,” said military historian Lawrence Yates. “Cisneros would talk about cultural awareness with his officers while Thurman went around in his military fatigues trying to impress everyone,” he added. Crédito: Courtesy of Gen Cisneros.
"You have earned your country's lasting gratitude," reads this signed photo of gen Marc Cisneros with President George H Bush. It hangs prominently in Cisneros's home office in Corpus Christi, Texas. Cisneros comes from a family with a history of public service. His great uncle, J.T. Canales, was a leading Texas Mexican-American political leader, who helped found the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). After he retired from the military he was named president of Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Crédito: David Adams / Univision