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Family feud delays Venezuelan president's burial

 The body of the former Venezuelan president Carlos Andres Perez lies in a casket at a funeral home in Miami, Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2010. Perez died Satur...
 Cecilia Victoria Perez, left, and Maria Francia Perez, right,  the daughters of former Venezuelan president Carlos Andres Perez, arrive at a funeral ...
 Former Venezuelan presidential candidate Enrique Salas Romer shakes hands as he arrives at a funeral home in Miami for a viewing for the former Venez...
 A sign that reads "Sir...Give us back Carlos Andres Perez (CAP) and we will give you Chavez" is shown on a car parked at a funeral home during the vi...

APTOPIX Burial Perez

The body of the former Venezuelan president Carlos Andres Perez lies in a casket at a funeral home in Miami, Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2010. Perez died Satur...

Burial Perez

Cecilia Victoria Perez, left, and Maria Francia Perez, right, the daughters of former Venezuelan president Carlos Andres Perez, arrive at a funeral ...

Burial Perez

Former Venezuelan presidential candidate Enrique Salas Romer shakes hands as he arrives at a funeral home in Miami for a viewing for the former Venez...

Burial Perez

A sign that reads "Sir...Give us back Carlos Andres Perez (CAP) and we will give you Chavez" is shown on a car parked at a funeral home during the vi...

A judge has delayed the burial of former Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Perez amid a family feud over his final resting place.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Gerald Hubbart issued an order late Tuesday to keep a funeral home from burying Perez as planned Wednesday.
His first wife, Blanca Perez, wants him buried in Venezuela. She maintains that she has the right to decide because, while the two were separated, they were never legally divorced. She also claims Perez left no written instructions regarding his remains.
"My husband and I never divorced and remained legally married through to the date of his death," she wrote in an affidavit.
Perez's longtime mistress and secretary, Cecilia Matos, and their two daughters had planned to bury him in Miami, where they live, after a Mass Wednesday. Matos is frequently identified as Perez's current wife, but it is not clear if they were married.
She and her daughters have vowed they will not bring Perez's remains back to Venezuela until President Hugo Chavez, who led a 1992 coup attempt against him, leaves office.
Hubbart did not immediately schedule another hearing, but he granted Blanca Perez's request to prevent the funeral home from taking any action to bury or otherwise dispose of the body until the dispute is settled.
Juan C. Antunez and Juan Jose Delgado, appointed to handle the matter on Blanca Perez's behalf, declined to comment Wednesday.
Perez's family in Venezuela wants him to be buried there next to his daughter Thais, who died 15 years ago.
Diego Arria, a close Perez ally and his former U.N. ambassador, said both sides have expressed willingness to resolve the situation and he does not believe the dispute will end in an extended court battle.
He said lawyers for Perez's relatives in Miami and Caracas are discussing the matter and that both sides should agree on when the ex-president's remains are to be taken to Venezuela.
Perez was a popular president who presided over an oil boom in the 1970s. He was later impeached during a second term in office and spent two years under house arrest.
He died Saturday in Miami. He was 88.
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Associated Press writers Ian James in Caracas and Gisela Salomon in Miami contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-07-24 12:28 GMT+08:00