Alfredo Poveda, Former Ecuadoran Military Ruler, Dead at 64
QUITO, Ecuador (AP) _ Retired Adm. Alfredo Poveda, who led a military junta that ruled Ecuador from 1976 until turning over power to a civilian government in 1979, died of a heart attack in Miami, his family said Friday. He was 64.
Poveda had traveled to Miami for medical treatment, his family said. He died Thursday, and his family said the body was flown to the port of Guayaquil, where a funeral with military honors was scheduled for Saturday.
The government issued no comment on the death of Poveda, who Ecuadoran politicians have called the most benign of the military dictators who dominated Latin America in the 1970s and early 1980s.
He was born in Ambato, a mountain city 75 miles south of Quito, and studied in the United States, Argentina and Brazil during his rise in the navy.
In 1976, the admiral replaced Gen. Guillermo Rodriguez Lara, who four years earlier had overthrown five-term President Jose Maria Velasco Ibarra after the civilian canceled elections and declared himself dictator.
Although Poveda reached power through the military hierarchy, he set up a system to return the government to civilian power. The constitutional process he helped develop, which allows for no presidential re-election and a one- house legislature, survives today.
He named a group of judges and lawyers to develop a new alternative to the 1945 constitution. Voters, given the choice between the two documents in a 1978 plebiscite, chose the new constitution.
Poveda in 1979 turned over power to the winner of general elections, Jaime Roldos Aguilera. He then retired from the military.