TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras -- (AP) -- Rigoberto Padilla Rush, former leader
Honduras' Communist Party, has died. He was 69.
Padilla was buried Thursday, two days after he died of a stroke that he
Padilla joined the Communist Party in 1945 and participated in the three-month
strike by 60,000 workers against the U.S.-based United Fruit Co. and other
companies in 1954. The action led to improved labor conditions and influenced
union movements throughout Latin America.
In the following years, Padilla was jailed three times and frequently went
spending a total of 17 years out of the country in Cuba, Nicaragua, Bulgaria and
the Soviet Union.
Padilla was secretary general of the party for about 20 years until it
split in the late
1970s between pro-Soviet and pro-Chinese branches.
During the 1980s, he participated in pro-Soviet communist guerrilla groups
tried without success to topple the Honduran government. In 1990, he was one of
about 2,000 leftists who accepted a general amnesty and returned home.
In his later years, Padilla was a leading member of the tiny Democratic
Party, which grew out of the Communist Party. He is survived by his Cuban-born
wife, Rosario Roiz, and five children.