Accessibility links

Breaking News

Venezuela Exhumes Simon Bolivar for DNA Testing

Venezuela has exhumed the remains of 19th century independence hero Simon Bolivar for DNA testing to determine if Bolivar was poisoned by his enemies.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez rejects the generally accepted account that Bolivar died of tuberculosis almost 200 years ago in Colombia. President Chavez believes Bolivar was murdered.

The Venezuelan president became emotional Friday at the exhumation he ordered. He wrote on his Twitter account that he wept at seeing at what he called Bolivar's "glorious skeleton."

National television showed footage of white-clad technicians alongside Bolivar's coffin.

Earlier this year, Paul Auwaerter, an American scientist from Johns Hopkins University, said he believed arsenic prescribed as a medical treatment contributed to Bolivar's death.

However, Auwaerter says he does not support the assassination theory and is concerned the Venezuelan government is distorting his research.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.