Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega, waving a machete that he called a symbol of the valor of the Panamanian people, vowed Saturday to keep fighting U.S. efforts to oust him as Panama's strongman. "This machete says, `Not one step back!' " Noriega told a "solidarity meeting" of Latin American labor leaders.

Noriega brandished the machete several times, and people in the crowd cheered and waved machetes they had been given by the government as they entered the conference hall for the closing ceremony.