Trial on Resting Place for Ex-Venezuelan President Delayed

Posted August 2nd, 2011 at 7:55 pm (UTC-5)
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Court sources in Miami, Florida say a trial to decide the final resting place for former Venezuelan president Carlos Andres Perez has been postponed, following a request from relatives trying to settle a dispute over the issue.

A spokeswoman for the 11th Judicial Circuit Court, Eunice Sigler, Tuesday said the trial was to have begun August 8, but was postponed. No new date has been released and the reason for the delay is not known.

The former Venezuelan leader died December 25, 2010 in Florida. He was 88 years old. Mr. Perez's wife, Blanca Perez, wants him buried in Venezuela, where one of his daughters, Thais, died several years ago. Mr. Perez and his wife never divorced.

His longtime companion, Cecelia Matos, and their two daughters, want the body buried in Florida. Matos and her daughters have been living there and say they will not return Mr. Perez's remains to Venezuela until current President Hugo Chavez leaves office. Mr. Perez survived a 1992 coup attempt by Mr. Chavez, who at the time was an army lieutenant colonel.

In later years, Mr. Perez became a strong critic of Mr. Chavez.

Mr. Perez was elected president of Venezuela in 1974 after a long career in politics. Among his first major acts was nationalizing the country's oil industry at a time when global prices were soaring.

Mr. Perez lost re-election in 1978, but returned to the presidency in 1989.

Although he survived two coup attempts, including the one led by Hugo Chavez, Mr. Perez was later brought down when the Venezuelan Congress impeached him on corruption charges.