Miami, FL (AP) - More than 100 mourners have gathered to pay their
last respects to former Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Perez.
During the wake in Miami Tuesday, Perez's wife and two adult
daughters fought back tears as they greeted former military and
political leaders who have sought refuge in South Florida from the
government of Hugo Chavez.
Nearby, a painting of a dashing Perez in a red tie and white
jacket stood next to the open coffin.
Perez's family is divided over whether to return his remains to
Venezuela. His daughters in the U.S. said they will not bury their
father there until Chavez leaves office. A daughter from a previous
marriage said in Caracas he should be buried in his native country.
Perez died Saturday. He was 88.
Former Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Perez, whose popularity soared with his country's oil-based economy but who later faced riots, economic crises and impeachment in his homeland, has died in Miami.
The 88-year-old Perez's daughter, Maria Francia Perez, said her
father had died Saturday afternoon in a Miami area hospital after
he had sudden trouble breathing.
Perez came to personify the old guard Venezuelan political
establishment bitterly opposed by current President Hugo Chavez.
Perez survived two coup attempts in 1992, the first led by Chavez
when he was a young army officer.
In recent years, Perez lived in Miami while the Venezuelan
government demanded he be turned over to stand trial for his role
in quelling bloody 1989 riots.
The family says a funeral and burial are planned in South
Florida but arrangements are incomplete.