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Tue, Feb 05, 2013

Paraguayan Presidential Candidate Fatally Injured In Helicopter Accident

Had Helped Lead 1989 Coup That Overthrew Dictator Alfredo Stroessner

A retired general in the Paraguayan military who was running for election as President of that country was fatally injured Saturday night in a helicopter accident in Northern Paraguay. Lino Oviedo had been traveling to a campaign event when the aircraft went down.

The accident occurred on the exact 24h anniversary of a coup led in part by Oviedo that ended the dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner. While campaigning, Oviedo often told a story that he forced Stroessner to surrender after breaking into the dictator's bunker with a grenade, but Reuters reports that the story was never independently verified.

Paraguayan President Frederico Franco offered condolences in a Tweet. "On behalf of the government, we send our sincere condolences to the family of General Lino César Oviedo," he said. The government suspended official activities for a three-day mourning period.

Oviedo had been jailed for plotting to overthrow government in the 1990s, but was pardoned before completing his 10-year sentence. He was generally considered to be in fourth or fifth place in the polls, getting the support of about 8 percent of the electorate, Reuters said.

The accident is under investigation by the interior department. The weather at the time of the accident along the route of flight to Asuncion from Concepcios where he Oviedo had been campaigning was reportedly "poor."

FMI: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_997.html

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