Death came on cue, in the black hours before dawn. Bravura was there, too. Said the dying President of Chile to his Minister of Justice: "How should I die? On my stomach, on my side, or on my back?" For his War Minister he had a smart salute, then, "AdiĆ³s, General!"

For months before grey, handsome Juan Antonio Rios finally died of cancer, the political vultures had swooped and darted. Last week they plunged. Chilean law requires presidential elections within 60 days after the office becomes vacant, and all but one of the prospective candidates had already stumped the country. The...

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