Carlos Andrés Pérez, 88; former president of Venezuela
CARACAS — Former President Carlos Andrés Pérez, whose popularity soared with Venezuela’s oil-based economy but who later faced riots, a severe economic downturn, and impeachment, has died.
Mr. Pérez’s daughter, Maria Francia Pérez, said her father, 88, died in a Miami hospital.
“He got up fine in the morning. He was very eloquent, happy, but all of a sudden he couldn’t breath,’’ she said. She told the Venezuelan television channel Globovision that he died yesterday of a heart attack.
In the final years of his life, Mr. Pérez came to personify the old guard Venezuelan political establishment bitterly opposed by current President Hugo Chávez. Mr. Pérez survived two coup attempts in 1992, the first of which was led by Chávez.
In recent years, Mr. Pérez lived in Miami while the Venezuelan government demanded he be turned over to stand trial for his role in putting down bloody 1989 riots. Mr. Pérez — who governed from 1974-79 and from 1989-93 — denied wrongdoing.