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    One of Peru's most controversial political figures, Mr. Raul Haya De La Torre, died of?

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    One of Peru's most controversial political figures, Mr. Raul Haya De La Torre, died of lung cancer in Lima on Friday (3 August), at the age of 84. Mr. Haya De La Torre was a veteran of Peruvian politics, and the founder of the populist party -- the Latin American Revolutionary Alliance, or APRISTA.

    SYNOPSIS: Raul De La Haya tried on three occasions to become President of Peru, but on each attempt he was unsuccessful. He was a controversial politician and the party which he founded half a century ago received the highest number of votes in last year's elections for a constituent assembly.

    Mr. Haya De La Torre was born in February, 1895, in the northern Peruvian town of Trujillo. He never married, and dedicated his life completely to politics. In 1928, he founded what was then considered to be a firebrand radical movement in Mexico during one of his many periods in exile.

    But the fiery rhetoric has long since been watered down. Now APRISTA is viewed as a Peruvian version of the Social Democratic parties of Western Europe. It is generally shunned by the Communists and regarded with suspicion by the Right for its calls for social justice.

    Mr. Haya De La Torre spent a month in a cancer hospital in Houston, Texas, earlier this year. But despite his failing health, his party still nominated him for next year's presidential elections.

    A requiem mass was celebrated at the cathedral in Lima. Officiating was Cardinal Landazuri -- the head of the Roman Catholic church in Peru. And as a belated tribute to his role as a leader in Peruvian politics, he was awarded the country's leading decoration, The Order of the Sun.

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    Reuters - Including Visnews
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