Kurt Muse handed over his passport at Torrijos International Airport, just as he’d done countless times. Instantly, he sensed that something was wrong. Rather than the cursory glance followed by the whack of the entry stamp, the bureaucrat held the little book in both hands. He seemed to be studying it. And then he smiled.
Kurt followed the clerk’s gaze to a piece of paper taped to his partition. The sign was handwritten in Spanish:
His life was over.
Born in the United States, raised in Panama, Kurt Muse grew up with a deep love for his adopted country. But by the late 1980s, Panama was suffering under the regime of Manuel Noriega. Innocent people disappeared. Beatings and murders became commonplace.
For Kurt Muse, accepting such a dictator was not an option. For two years, Kurt and a few friends operated clandestine radio stations on low-tech equipment smuggled into Panama. At first, they broadcast on a small scale. But in late 1987, the group realized that they could override any transmission from a government-run radio network, and Radio Constitucional was born.
Muse and his compatriots chose Noriega’s Loyalty Day address, simulcast on every radio station in the country, for its first transmission. Just as Noriega began his self-serving message, Radio Constitucional seized the airwaves, urging the people to rise up in defense of their freedom. Kurt knew that if his identity was revealed, he and his family would be in grave peril. But he had no idea what kind of terror, confusion, and betrayal lay in store for all of them.
Six Minutes to Freedom spins the remarkable tale of Kurt’s arrest by Noriega’s henchmen and his months of imprisonment; the squalid conditions he faced in Panama’s infamous Modelo Prison; his eyewitness accounts of his fellow inmates’ torture; and the plight of Kurt’s family as they fled for their lives. And it reveals, for the first time, the astonishing details of the long-awaited day when helicopters arrived in a firestorm of bullets to whisk Kurt Muse from under the noses of thugs who had been ordered to kill him.
This is Kurt’s thrilling and highly personal story—the story of an American hero on foreign soil, who risked his life for his beliefs and for freedom…and became the only American civilian ever rescued by the elite Delta Force.