Omar Efraín Torrijos Herrera is the Soviet-aligned dictator of Panama. The commander of the Panamanian National Guard, Torrijos took power in a coup d'état in 1968. Because of the American refusal to withdraw from the Panama Canal Zone, he aligned Panama with the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
In 1983, four American soldiers were taken hostage in Panama City, drawing condemnation from American President Ronald Reagan. The tensions between Panama and the US lead to the deployment of the Soviet fleet off the coast of Panama, which threatened the continental United States with nuclear war. The crisis was eventually defused after the success of the Apollo-Soyuz mission caused Ronald Reagan to land Air Force One in Moscow to meet Soviet Premier Yuri Andropov.
Behind the scenes
In real-life, Torrijos was known for negotiating the Panama Canal Treaty with Jimmy Carter in 1977, which saw the US withdraw from the Panama Canal Zone; this event does not happen in the fictional timeline of For All Mankind. The real Torrijos also died in a plane crash in 1981, so his survival in the show's 1983 is also fictional. However, the hostage situation in Panama City mirrors events that transpired under Torrijos' successor, Manuel Noriega, in 1989, which culminated in an American invasion of the country.