Paraguay coup leader dies in helicopter crash

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Paraguayan presidential candidate Lino Oviedo, who helped lead the 1989 coup that overthrew dictator Alfredo Stroessner, died in a helicopter crash over the weekend.

A retired general known as a dynamic public speaker, Mr Oviedo, 69, was running in the April presidential election in the South American country.

Police rescuers found his body yesterday in the wreckage of a helicopter crash in northern Paraguay where he was travelling for a campaign event. It was exactly 24 years since the coup that ended Mr Stroessner’s 35-year dictatorship.

“On behalf of the government, we send our sincere condolences to the family of General Lino Cesar Oviedo,” Paraguayan president Federico Franco said.

Mr Oviedo’s popularity was based on the story – often repeated by supporters but never independently verified – of him breaking into Mr Stroessner’s bunker with a grenade in his hand to force him to surrender.