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August 7, 1985, New York Times, Successor is Sworn In, by Richard J. Meislin,

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August 7, 1985, New York Times, Successor is Sworn In, by Richard J. Meislin,

MEXICO CITY, Aug. 6— Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham, who ruled the South American country of Guyana since 1964, died today in a Guyanese hospital after a throat operation. He was 62 years old.

Desmond Hoyte, the country's Prime Minister, was sworn in to succeed him under the Guyanese Constitution. Mr. Hoyte has served as a senior minister in the Guyanese Cabinet for more than a decade, mostly in economic posts, and had been named Prime Minister by Mr. Burnham last year.

The new President is viewed as a political and philosophical protege of Mr. Burnham. ''I don't think you're going to see much of a change,'' said John Galinas, an American consultant who represents Guyana.

Mr. Galinas said Mr. Burnham had been suffering for several weeks from a throat condition that caused his voice to fail toward the end of the day. As recently as last Friday, he said, the President had mentioned in a telephone call that he would ''have to do something about that.''

The President was admitted for surgery to the Georgetown Hospital Monday night, and was reported to have died at 10:45 A.M. today.


For more than two decades, Mr. Burnham maintained himself in power through a combination of small social gains and what his critics charged were larger repressive acts.

The goal of his Government, Mr. Burnham said, was to create a state of ''cooperative Socialism'' that would remove the vestiges of Guyana's former British colonial rule, which ended in 1966, free it from alignments with foreign powers and give it self-sufficiency in food, clothing and shelter.

It was a goal that he never reached for his country of 800,000 in 21 years in power.
 The goal seemed to become more elusive in recent years as the price of Guyana's basic commodities - sugar, rice and bauxite - fell sharply in international markets.

Mr. Burnham's Government had been losing popularity in recent years as the financial crisis made it difficult to import even such basic foods as wheat flour.

In 1978 the country, which had a reputation as a haven for bizarre cults, was shaken by the disaster at Jonestown, in which more than 900 Americans at a commune died after Jim Jones ordered his followers to drink punch laced with cyanide.

Critics said Mr. Burnham had increasingly come to rely on repressive acts to maintain himself in power, a charge that he repeatedly denied.

Pastel Suits and Cowboy Boots

Mr. Burnham was a sharp-witted man who would punctuate his statements with a nearly demonic laugh. He seemed to delight in irritating his more conservative Caribbean colleagues by flaunting his leftist sympathies, and was the most outspoken critic among Caribbean leaders of the United States invasion of Grenada in 1983.

Despite his railing at the vestiges of British colonialism, Mr. Burnham was a heavy smoker of John Player Specials cigarettes. He was said by diplomats to be suffering from diabetes and to be a heavy drinker; even pre-noon visitors to his modest, booklined office in Georgetown were invited to join him in one or more glasses of Guyanese rum. The President was a flamboyant dresser as well, favoring pastel leisure suits with matching cowboy boots.

Mr. Burnham was born Feb. 20, 1923, in Georgetown. He was educated at the University of London, where he became involved in politics as president of the West Indian Student's Union.

In 1949 he became a co-founder of the People's Progressive Party - now the major opposition party in Guyana -and served in posts as a member of the Georgetown City Council and Minister of Education before joining in the 1957 founding of the People's National Congress, the party that brought him to power as Prime Minister in 1964, when the party defeated the Marxist Government of Dr. Cheddi B. Jagan. Two years later, when the country gained independence from Britain, Mr. Burnham became Prime Minister and President.

Mr. Burnham is survived by his wife, Viola, who is a former headmistress of a Georgetown girls' school, and two teen-age daughters, as well as three daughters from a previous marriage.

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