Photo: Lino Oviedo
Paraguayan presidential candidate Lino Oviedo died in a helicopter crash in Chaco province, officials said Sunday.
A search team found the wreckage of the helicopter, which went down Saturday night, at a ranch in the city of Presidente Hayes, media reports said.
Searchers found three burned bodies in the wreckage, a reporter for the ABC Color newspaper said from the crash site.
The retired army general was traveling with his bodyguard and a pilot in the helicopter, which changed its route due to bad weather.
President Federico Franco expressed his condolences to “the family of the general, the members of his party and all of the Paraguayan people over the loss of one of the military heroes” of the “heroic deed of liberty of Feb. 2 and 3, 1989.”
The president was referring to the coup that ended the dictatorhip of Gen. Alfredo Stroessner 24 years ago.
Oviedo, leader of the UNACE party, was returning to Asuncion after taking part in a campaign rally in the city of Concepcion.
Air traffic controllers lost contact with the helicopter as it was heading to the capital.
Oviedo, who led an attempted coup in 1996, was accused of being involved in the March 23, 1999, assassination of Vice President Luis Maria Argaña.
The retired general denied he was behind the vice president’s assassination.
President Raul Cubas, a friend and political ally of Oviedo, resigned in the wake of the deaths of Argaña and seven young people killed in street violence sparked by the assassination.
After the killings, Oviedo fled to Argentina and later Brazil.
Oviedo returned to the country on June 29, 2004 - after five years as a fugitive - and was taken directly from the Asuncion airport to the Viñas Cue military prison. EFE