SAO PAULO, Brazil - Aloisio Lorscheider, 83, one of Latin America's most influential cardinals, died yesterday after a lengthy hospital stay.

The two-time president of the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops played an influential role in the two conclaves of 1978 and pushed for the election of Cardinal Karol Wojtyla of Poland, who became Pope John Paul II.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva lamented the passing of an advocate for the poor. "His dedication to the poor and to social justice are examples that will remain alive for all Brazilians," Lula said in a statement yesterday. "Aloisio was a symbol for the fight for human rights."