Christ, what is it with news sources out of Miami? They may be close to the Caribbean, but for all their proximity, they still can’t report on Latin America for shit. Case in point: this silly puff piece from the Miami New Times…
Even in death, Carlos Andres Perez managed to ruffle his nemesis Hugo Chavez’s feathers. After the ex-president passed away in Miami last Christmas, his body was caught in a tug-of-war between Chavez loyalists and the Magic City’s anti-regime exiles as two sides of his family battled over whether to bury him here or back in Caracas.
That’s just the first paragraph, and already we can see how badly they haz Teh Stoopid there at the so-called “alternative” paper of Miami. In fact, as I have reported here (search results for your perusal), the legal wrangle over the remains of CAP had nothing to do with Chavecito, who kept himself strictly out of it. It was between the two sides of CAP’s broken family: his legal widow, Blanca Rodríguez, and his mistress, Cecilia Matos.
Chavecito’s only words on the matter were that it was up to the judge in Miami to decide who had custody of CAP’s remains, and thus the right to bury them in the country of their choice. In the meantime, he would not stand in the way of repatriation and burial in Venezuela, should it come to that.
And it HAS come to that, at last, nearly a year after the old tyrant kicked the bucket. But what’s really stupid, and inexcusable, is how the New Times scribbler has lazily chosen to believe a bunch of self-exiled oligarchs instead of learning some Spanish and ferreting out the facts of the matter for himself:
In ’92, he crushed Chavez’s first attempted coup, sending the young lieutenant colonel to prison and winning his reputation among other Chavez foes as a symbol of resistance to the Bolivarian strongman. (Of course, CAP was also arrested the next year and charged with massive corruption, but that’s another tale).
In 2003, Perez moved full-time to Miami after suffering a stroke, living mostly in Brickell Key with his longtime companion, Cecilia Matos.
When he died last December, Matos and CAP’s two daughters with her planned to bury him in Miami. But as they prepared a memorial service two days later, a lawyer arrived with a court order not to bury the ex-prez.
His wife in Venezuela, long estranged but never actually divorced, was asserting her right to bury the ex-leader in his homeland. Miami’s exiles were sure Chavez’s hand was involved.
“Carlos Andrés Pérez, for us, is a symbol of democracy,” Vicente Pugliese, the leader of a Miami-based exile group, told us in March. “For Hugo Chávez, he’s a trophy that he wants to bring back to Venezuela against his will.”
“A symbol of democracy”? Bwahahahaha. That’s not how Venezuelans remember CAP:
Corruption, repression, riots. This occurred after Pérez decided that the IMF, not the people, were the ones from whom he would take his marching orders. Of course the people rose up, and of course he turned the army and police out against them. Entire housing blocks machine-gunned indiscriminately to suppress dissent against hugely unpopular measures.
That’s the “democracy” of which CAP is the symbol. Who’s the “strongman”, again?
Nice try at making CAP out to be some kind of martyr or political pawn here, New Times. And nice way to gloss over his ouster for embezzlement of public funds, too. Next time, get your story straight. And quit licking the boots of a bunch of cowardly self-exiled oligarchs. It makes you look like less of an alternative paper and more of the same old shit that you’re supposed to be in contrast to.