Uruguayan Opposition Leader Ferreira Aldunate Dies
MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) _ Wilson Ferreira Aldunate, the leader of Uruguay’s largest opposition group, died today after a long bout with cancer, his family said. He was 69.
Hundreds of mourners congregated outside his home in the seaside suburb of Pocitos to pay respects to the National Party leader, who died with his wife and three children at his side.
Ferreira Aldunate, who had been ill since July, lived in exile for 11 years after Uruguay’s military staged a coup in 1973. He had been a presidential candidate in 1971 but narrowly lost in what he claimed was a fraudulent election.
An outspoken critic of the right-wing military regime, he was sent to prison upon his return to Uruguay in 1984. The military government refused to allow him to run for president in 1985. He was released five days after the elections.
Son of a rancher and rural doctor, Ferreira Aldunate abandoned his law studies on the death of his father just before his final exams. He was a member of Congress for 34 years and was agriculture minister from 1963-67.
Argentine President Raul Alfonsin, a friend of Ferreira Aldunate, lamented the loss of ″a notable figure in Uruguayan democracy and in Latin America.″
Ferreira Aldunate consolidated control over the National Party in the 1960s while he served in the Senate, opposing the government of former President Jorge Pacheco Areco.
He won the most votes overall in the 1971 elections but his party, under whose banner he was running, lost the presidency by 12,000 votes to Juan Bordaberry, backed by Pacheco Areco.
Survivors include his wife, two sons and a daughter. Burial services are scheduled for today in Montevideo.