November 09, 2007
Former President Luis Herrera Campins, part of a generation of political leaders who helped end a decade of dictatorship and usher in democracy in 1950s Venezuela, died Friday. He was 82.
Herrera, who underwent surgery two years ago for an abdominal aneurism that led to a kidney infection and other complications, ''finally lost his battle for life,'' Eduardo Fernández, former president of the Christian Democrat Party (COPEI), told The Associated Press.
A lawyer and a journalist, Herrera was jailed for four months in 1952 for pro-democracy political activism during the dictatorship of Gen. Marcos Pérez Jiménez and then expelled from the country.
From exile in Spain, he and other Christian Democrat leaders founded the newspaper Tiela, which was distributed secretly in Venezuela. He returned after the dictatorship fell in 1958 and went on to serve several terms as a lawmaker and as president from 1979 to 1984.
''Former President Herrera was an honest and austere man who didn't use power to enrich himself, a great servant of the nation,'' said COPEI Secretary-General Luis Ignacio Plana.