Ex-Venezuelan President to be Buried in Venezuela

Posted August 17th, 2011 at 7:50 pm (UTC-5)
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Relatives of former Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Perez have agreed that he will be buried in Venezuela, ending a bitter family dispute.

Lawyers for both sides of the dispute said in a joint statement Wednesday that Mr. Perez's remains will return to Venezuela for burial as soon as the proper arrangements are made.

It is not clear how long that will take.

The agreement ends months of litigation involving the burial Mr. Perez, who died late last year at age 88. His wife, Blanca Perez, wanted 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, wanted the body buried in Florida. Matos and her daughters live there. They said 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 Venezuela's Congress impeached him on corruption charges.