Body of Venzuela president will be returned home

Relatives of former Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Pérez have agreed that he will be buried in Venezuela, ending a bitter family dispute.

Lawyers for both sides in the dispute said in a joint statement Wednesday that the remains of Pérez 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 of Pérez, who died late last year at age 88. His wife, Blanca Pérez, wanted him buried in Venezuela, where one of his daughters, Thais, died several years ago. Pérez and his wife never divorced.

His longtime companion, Cecelia Matos, and their two daughters, wanted the body buried in Florida. Ms. Matos and her daughters live there. They had said they would not return the remains to Venezuela until current President Hugo Chávez left office. Pérez survived a 1992 coup attempt by Chávez, who at the time was an army lieutenant colonel.

In later years, Pérez became a strong critic of Chávez.

Pérez 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.

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

Although he survived two coup attempts, including the one led by Chávez, Pérez was later brought down when Venezuela’s Congress impeached him on corruption charges.

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