Monday, October 24, 2005

Honduran ex-President Azcona dies

Print Story: Honduran ex-President Azcona dies on Yahoo! News: "Former Honduran President Jose Azcona, who gave safe haven in the 1980s to the U.S.-backed Contra rebels fighting to overthrow the leftist Sandinista government in neighboring Nicaragua, died on Monday.

Azcona, who was president of the Central American nation from 1986 to 1990, died at home of heart problems at age 78, family members said.

His term was marked by controversy over the presence of armed Nicaraguan Contra rebels on Honduran soil. The rebels received U.S. training and aid for their fight against the Sandinista government reviled by Washington.

The United States sent its own troops to Honduras, at Azcona's request, when the Sandinista army crossed the border to pursue the Contras.

Azcona's government agreed to oust the Contras if Nicaragua would hold free elections. In 1990 the Sandinistas lost power to U.S.-supported candidate Violeta Chamorro at the polls.

Azcona is remembered by some Hondurans as one of few clean politicians in a country where public life is often characterized by corruption, and credited with helping to negotiate peace accords in a region torn by civil war."

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