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Former Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Dies of Pneumonia


Former Nicaraguan Foreign Minister died Monday of pneumonia in a Miami, Florida hospital.

Ernesto Leal, who had been serving as Nicaraguan President Enrique Bolanos' chief of staff (secretary of the president), was 60-years-old.

Born in Managua in 1945, Mr. Leal was politically active in Nicaraguan politics for four decades. He was also heavily involved in working with the Organization of American States.

Earlier this year, he competed for the post of Assistant Secretary-General of the OAS, but lost to former Surinamese ambassador Albert Ramdin by five votes.

OAS officials say Mr. Leal worked tirelessly for reform of key institutions, including the Central American Parliament and the Central American Court of Justice.

They also say he took part in the 1993 special OAS Mission to Guatemala and Haiti, countries undergoing constitutional crises at the time.

The Nicaraguan government said a memorial service was held Tuesday in Florida, and would notify the country when Mr. Leal's body is returned to Managua.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.

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