Guillermo David Endara Galimany (May 12, 1936 – September 28, 2009) was President of Panama from 1989 to 1994. Raised in a family allied to Panameñista Party founder Arnulfo Arias, Endara attended school in exile in the United States and Argentina following Arias’s removal from power. Endara later received a law degree in Panama. He subsequently served as a member of Panama’s National Assembly, and briefly as a government minister before heading into exile again following Arias’ third overthrow.
After Arias’ death in 1988, Endara became a leading opponent of the Manuel Noriega military dictatorship, heading the opposition coalition in the 1989 presidential election. Though his coalition was judged by international observers as having defeated pro-Noriega candidate Carlos Duque, the results were annulled by the government, and Endara and his running mates were attacked in the streets by the paramilitary Dignity Battalions. The assaults received widespread coverage in international media, helping to build support within the U.S. for military action against Noriega. Seven months later, the United States invaded Panama. Endara was sworn in as the new president on the first night of the invasion on a U.S. military base.
During his presidency, Endara abolished the Panamanian military and replaced it with a national police force. Endara’s term saw steady economic growth and a return of democratic institutions, but also high unemployment rates. His administration was marked by internal fighting, and his popularity plummeted. He was succeeded by opposition candidate Ernesto Pérez Balladares on September 1, 1994.
Endara ran for office again in 2004 and 2009, but lost to Democratic Revolutionary Party candidate Martin Torrijos and to independent candidate Ricardo Martinelli. He died of a heart attack on September 28, 2009, several months after his last campaign.