Notable deaths


Former Haitian president Leslie Manigat, pictured in 1987, died June 27, 2014, at age 83. Manigat’s term in office was cut short by a military coup in 1988. (Scott Applewhite/AP)
Julius Rudel, opera conductor

Julius Rudel, who was the general director and principal conductor of the New York City Opera for 22 years until 1979 and led other operas around the world, died June 26 at his home in New York. He was 93.

A family representative confirmed the death but did not disclose the cause.

Mr. Rudel was born in Austria and moved to the United States as a teenager. He led more than 150 operas in the world’s major opera houses, including the Vienna Staatsoper, the Paris Opera, the Metropolitan Opera and the Los Angeles Opera. He was the first music director of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in the District, serving from 1971 to 1975.

He joined the New York City Opera in 1944. The City Opera filed for bankruptcy and shut down late last year. He wrote a memoir, “First and Lasting Impressions.”

Leslie Manigat, Haitian president

Leslie Manigat, a prominent figure in the Haitian political establishment whose term as president was cut short by a military coup in 1988, died June 27 at his home in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He was 83.

Evans Baubrun, deputy secretary of Mr. Manigat’s political party, confirmed the death but did not disclose the cause. Baubrun said Mr. Manigat’s condition may have been complicated by a recent bout of chikungunya, a debilitating mosquito-borne virus that has been rapidly spreading in Haiti since the first locally transmitted cases emerged earlier this year.

Mr. Manigat, a former professor of history and political science, won the presidency in January 1988 amid the tumult that followed the fall of former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier two years earlier.

The election, which was boycotted by the main opposition parties, was widely seen as illegitimate. A round of balloting three months earlier was called off after gunmen shot into lines of voters at polling stations and other assailants hacked people to death. Witnesses said soldiers took part in the shooting, and the opposition said the military organized the bloodshed to ruin the first free election in three decades.

Within six months, Mr. Manigat was ousted in a coup led by Lt. Gen. Henri Namphy. Upon fleeing to the neighboring Dominican Republic, he appeared finished with politics.

“I’m not going to fall into the classic trap of deposed political men who see the return to power from one moment to the other and pass all their time waiting for that imminent return,” he told reporters at the time. “I’m not only a politician, but a political scientist. I can avoid that vision, that force of mistaken politics and personal frustration.”

He did eventually return to Haiti and politics. He ran for president in 2006 but came in second to René Préval. In 2010, his wife, Mirlande Manigat, ran and was defeated by Michel Martelly, the current president.

Ramón José Velásquez, Venezuelan president

Ramón José Velásquez, a former Venezuelan president known for his role in opposing dictatorship in the South American country, died June 24, it was reported from Caracas, Venezuela. He was 97.

Opposition politician Henry Ramos Allup announced the death but did not disclose the cause.

Mr. Velásquez assumed the presidency for eight months spanning 1993 and 1994 after his predecessor, Carlos Andrés Pérez, was impeached for embezzlement. Before becoming president, Mr. Velásquez 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.

Mr. Velásquez served as the director of the newspaper El Nacional, one of the country’s largest and most prestigious dailies. He became a politician after the country transitioned to democracy. He spent time in Congress and served in various presidential administrations before he was appointed president.

Pamela Sanders Brement, author, journalist

Pamela Sanders Brement, a Time magazine correspondent who worked in Vietnam, New York and Washington and later wrote books and plays, died June 26 at her home in Tucson. She was 79. The cause was liver cancer, said Dr. Orest Zaklynsky, a family friend.

Mrs. Brement was born in Manila to Anglo American parents and was interned during the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in World War II. She wrote a column for the Manila Times before she began working for Time in 1960 as a freelance reporter in Laos and Vietnam. She left Vietnam in 1963 but returned 11 years later with her husband, Marshall Brement, a Foreign Service officer. Marshall Brement served as U.S. ambassador to Iceland in the early 1980s.

Mrs. Brement’s books included “Iceland 66 Degrees North” (1985), with the photographer Roloff Beny, and “Iceland, Isle of Light,” written with her husband. She also wrote a novel, “Miranda” (1978), and a comic play about old age, “I’ll Be Seeing You.”

— From staff reports and news services

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