Venezuela: Pérez burial delayed over relatives' row

A bitter dispute between relatives of the former Venezuelan president Carlos Andrés Pérez has prevented his body being returned home from Miami.

Mr Pérez's family in Caracas said the plan to fly the body to the capital was cancelled because Mr Pérez's longtime companion and daughters in the US said through their lawyers that they had never agreed to transferring his remains to Venezuela. That decision broke an apparent agreement reached between relatives in the US and Venezuela last week for the body to be buried in Caracas.

A planned burial was halted in Miami last week after the former president's estranged wife in Caracas, Blanca Rodriguez de Pérez, persuaded a court in Miami to issue an order stopping it. Relatives on both sides said then that they would resolve the issue and agree on when the body would be sent to Venezuela.

Mr Pérez died on 25 December at the age of 88 in Miami, where he had lived for much of the past decade with his former secretary Cecilia Matos, with whom he had two daughters. Mr Pérez's family in the US had maintained before last week's funeral that he had wanted to be buried in Venezuela only when President Hugo Chávez is no longer in power.

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