Former Venezuelan President Caldera dies

CARACAS, Venezuela, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- Former Venezuelan President Rafael Caldera Rodriguez died early Thursday, a month before his 94th birthday, his son announced.

Andres Caldera said the family had agreed not to accept any official tributes from the government of President Hugo Chavez, El Universal reported. He said the funeral will be held Saturday.


The former president, who had suffered from Parkinson's disease, died at about 2 a.m., his son said.

Caldera served two terms as president between 1969 and 1974 and again between 1974 and 1999. During his first term, his administration put down guerrilla groups and in his second he had to cope with a major economic crisis.

From 1974 to 1994 and for a brief period after his second term as president, Caldera served as senator for life.

Caldera also served as a professor of law and sociology. He became active in politics as a student leader, serving as secretary of Venezuelan Catholic Youth and as one of the founders of the National Student Union, which later became the political party Electoral Action.

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