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Family: Perez to be buried in Venezuela

 Cecilia Victoria Perez, second from left, and Maria Francia Perez, third from left, daughters of the former Venezuelan president Carlos Andres Perez,...
 Cecilia Victoria Perez, left, and Maria Francia Perez, fourth from left, daughters of former Venezuelan president Carlos Andres Perez, stand with Cec...

Venezuelan President Burial

Cecilia Victoria Perez, second from left, and Maria Francia Perez, third from left, daughters of the former Venezuelan president Carlos Andres Perez,...

Venezuelan President- Burial

Cecilia Victoria Perez, left, and Maria Francia Perez, fourth from left, daughters of former Venezuelan president Carlos Andres Perez, stand with Cec...

The mistress of former Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Perez said Wednesday she will not try to stop his estranged wife from bringing his remains back to his native country for burial.
Cecilia Matos and her two adult daughters said they would give up their efforts to have Perez buried in Miami. Returning him to Venezuela would be a way to pay tribute to him, they said. Matos is frequently identified as Perez's current wife, but it is not clear if they were married.
On Tuesday, Miami-Dade Judge Gerald Hubbart had ordered a funeral home not to bury Perez as planned Wednesday in South Florida.
His wife, Blanca Rodriguez de Perez, asked for the court order because she wanted him buried in Venezuela. Matos had vowed not to bring Perez's remains back to Venezuela until President Hugo Chavez, who led a failed 1992 coup against him, leaves office.
Rodriguez had maintained that she has the right to decide because, while the two were separated, they were never legally divorced. She also claimed Perez left no written instructions regarding his remains.
Perez's family in Venezuela wants him buried there next to his daughter Thais, who died 15 years ago.
One of his daughters with Matos, Maria Francia Perez, told AP that his body will remain at the funeral home until it can be sent back to Venezuela.
"This is a process that will take time, a mutual agreement among family," she said. She would not say if her mother and Perez were ever married.
A daughter in Venezuela, Carolina Perez, told The Associated Press earlier Wednesday that she found out about her father's death from Twitter and that her family was never consulted about the burial. She maintains that her mother, Rodriguez, should be the one to decide what happens to her father'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," she said.
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 and Jorge Rueda in Caracas and Gisela Salomon in Miami contributed to this report.


Updated : 2020-12-05 14:07 GMT+08:00