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Former Venezuelan president to be buried in homeland

By the CNN Wire Staff
The ex-president's partner Cecilias Matos (from left) and daughters Maria and Cecilia grieve at the funeral Wednesday in Miami.
The ex-president's partner Cecilias Matos (from left) and daughters Maria and Cecilia grieve at the funeral Wednesday in Miami.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Carlos Andres Perez died Saturday in Miami, Florida, at age 88
  • His longtime partner wanted him buried in the United States
  • His estranged wife in Venezuela wanted his body sent back to Venezuela
  • A Florida judge had blocked any burial until the matter was settled
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(CNN) -- A tug-of-war over the body of a former Venezuelan president was avoided Wednesday night when feuding sides of Carlos Andres Perez's family agreed for him to be buried in his homeland.

In a statement, Perez's longtime partner, Cecilias Matos, said her family would not stand in the way of a Venezuelan final resting place for the ex-president. Perez, 88, died Saturday in Miami, Florida. Matos planned to have him buried there.

Perez's wife in Venezuela, from whom he was long separated but apparently never divorced, had requested that Perez's body be sent to Venezuela.

Earlier this week, a Florida judge signed a preliminary injunction blocking any burial until the matter was settled. Blanca Perez, the former president's wife in Venezuela, asked for the injunction.

"At the present time in Venezuela, love should be lavished to it and its great men," the Matos family said in the statement. "Repatriating him is a way of giving (Perez) tribute, so neither Cecilia Matos nor her daughters, Maria Francia and Cecilia Victoria, will become an obstacle."

The statement continued, "The Perez Matos family is absolutely convinced that Carlos Andres Perez belongs now to Venezuela, and all the Venezuelan people."

Perez, 88, served two terms as president of the South American country, the first from 1974 to 1979 and again from 1989 to 1993. During his final term, he survived a coup attempt led by Hugo Chavez, who spent two years in prison but later amassed support among millions of poor people angry about corruption and became Venezuela's president.

Perez's second stint in power was marred by "El Caracazo," a string of protests and riots against an economic package that the president had introduced. More than 200 people died in the violence.

Perez was impeached on corruption charges in 1993, several months before his term was to end.

 
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