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Ramon Jose Velasquez, former Venezuelan president; at 97

Former president Ramón José Velásquez of Venezuela (second from left) had also been a journalist and lawyer.
Former president Ramón José Velásquez of Venezuela (second from left) had also been a journalist and lawyer.JOSE COHEN/AFP/Getty Images

CARACAS — Former president of Venezuela Ramón José Velásquez, known for his role in opposing dictatorship in the South American country, has died. He was 97.

Mr. Velásquez assumed the presidency for eight months from 1993 to 1994 after his predecessor was impeached for embezzlement.

He was the last living former president of Venezuela. Opposition politician Henry Ramos Allup announced Mr. Velásquez’s death Tuesday.

Mr. Velásquez was born in 1916 in western Venezuela. Before becoming president, he worked as a lawyer, journalist, and historian. He was jailed repeatedly in the 1950s under the dictatorship of Marcos Pérez Jiménez. One of his arrests was for his contributions to a book detailing the administration’s misdeeds.

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Mr. Velásquez served as the director of the newspaper El Nacional, one of the country’s largest and most prestigious dailies. On Tuesday, the current editor of the El Nacional, Miguel Otero, called Mr. Velásquez ‘‘a great thinker and politician of the 20th century.’’

Mr. Velásquez became a politician after the country transitioned to democracy. He spent time in Congress and served in various presidential administrations before being appointed president at 76 years old.