Photo: Former Venezuela President Carlos Andrés Pérez Still in Funeral Home.
More than a month after his Christmas demise, the body of Venezuelan ex-president Carlos Andrés Pérez is still at a Miami funeral home and at the center of a bitter battle between wife and mistress.
On Christmas of last year, Carlos Andrés Pérez, former president of Venezuela died in the city of Miami, where he fled to, promising to not comeback until Venezuela was once again a democracy. Sharing his life of exile was his mistress, for the last 30 years, Cecilia Matos, while his wife, Blanca Rodriguez, remained in Venezuela
Not far from the funeral home where Pérez’s body lays in a low temperature chamber, preliminary hearings for a March 21st trial deciding the fate of the late Pérez’s body are being held. Pérez didn’t leave behind any written instructions as to what to do in the event of his death; his widow and first wife Blanca Rodríguez presented a lawsuit immediately after his death, demanding that the body was buried in his native Venezuela.
Perez’s mistress, and partner for the last 30 years of his life—Cecilia Matos and her two daughters (with Pérez) allege that the ex-president didn’t want to go back until Chávez was out of office, and wants him to be buried in Miami.
On the subject, Chávez said he has nothing to do with anything “Well, there’s two families who have to decide, and a trial,” he said.
Segundo Velázquez, the lawyer who in 1997 started the divorce process between Pérez and Rodríguez said that there had been “strange irregularities” in the case, from an enormous wait in a process that takes maximum 2 years, to the destitution of lawyers who had ruled in favor of Perez early in the process. Chávez has denied any intervention on the divorce proceeding, despite the fact that certain irregularities point at the head of state, and he’s footing the bill for Rodríguez’s lawyer expenses in the current matter.
In any case the divorce was never finalized, and from a legal standpoint, Perez’s first wife is still his wife, and her lawyers allege that Florida law gives precedence to the legal wife’s wish.
Historian Agustín Blanco was the witness for the Matos family. He said he wasn’t the first to denounce that the Venezuelan government is paying for the lawsuit, and added that the government has funneled over a quarter million dollars to finance it.
Since the process might take up to to or three more months, Judge Arthur Rothenberg proposed that the body was moved to a cemetery crypt.
The Rodriguez family refused, and demanded that the body be kept cold and embalmed, so they can hold an open casket funeral in Venezuela. And that maybe the until revenge for a scorned wife and un-Democratic government.