Carlos Andrés Pérez, former President of Venezuela, died of a heart attack last Saturday in the city of Miami at the age of 88. His first wife, Blanca Pérez wants him buried in his native Venezuela, and Hugo Chávez has already authorized the burial.
But Perez’s long-term mistress Cecilia Matos, and the couple’s two daughters, want to bury him in Florida, where he has lived for the last decade. He maintained a residency in Venezuela in great part because Chavez would not allow Perez to return.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Gerald Hubbart has granted Blanca Perez’s request to prevent the Florida funeral home from taking any action to bury, or otherwise dispose of the body, until the dispute is settled.
Carolina, one of Perez’s daughters from his first marriage said that her mother had the right to decide the fate of her husband’s remains.
“They’re still married, and the law is very clear in Venezuela and in the United States: When the person dies, the one who has the right to reclaim the body is the spouse, and we exercised that right.”
Mr. Perez served two terms as president of Venezuela, one between ‘74 and ‘79, and the other one from ‘89 to ‘93.
He survived two coup attempts in 1992, the first of which was led by current President Hugo Chavez, who was then a young army lieutenant colonel.
Perez was impeached on corruption charges in 1993 and served more than two years of house arrest. He denied the charges alleging they were politically motivated.