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Former Nicaragua Contra leader Adolfo Calero dies
Former Nicaragua Contra leader Adolfo Calero dies at 81
By The Associated Press

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) ' One of the principal leaders of the U.S.-backed Contra rebels who battled Nicaragua's Sandinista government in the 1980s had died.

Adolfo Calero was 81.

Calero was a businessman before the Sandinistas took power in 1979 and he turned against them as they veered sharply to the left.

He went into exile and emerged as leader of the main Contra army. The conflict helped prod the Sandinistas them to accept elections that led to a change of power in 1990.

Calero was a key contact with senior U.S. officials during the Iran-Contra affair, when weapons were sold to Iran to secretly finance the anti-Marxist rebels in Nicaragua.

Conservative U.S. Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart issued a statement of condolences on Saturday, calling Calero "the symbol of a country struggling to regain its freedom."

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