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Valtr Komarek, left-wing Czech leader, dies

PRAGUE -- Valtr Komarek, the left-wing Czech politician and economist who helped overthrow the country's communist regime, has died at age 82, his son says.

His son Martin, a journalist for the Mlada Fronta Dnes daily, said Komarek died yesterday in a Prague hospital.

Born Aug. 10, 1930, in the southeast town of Hodonin, Komarek became a Communist Party member after World War II. From 1964-67, he served as an adviser to the Argentine revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara, then minister of industry in Cuba's government.

In the 1980s, Komarek chaired a government economic institute but joined the anti-communist opposition in November 1989. He became one of the most visible faces of the so-called "Velvet Revolution" that ended communist rule in Czechoslovakia.

He also briefly served as deputy premier of the first post-communist government.-- AP

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