Venezuela opening tombs to identify victims from 1989 'Caracazo' riots

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CARACAS, Venezuela – Authorities began opening tombs Monday to identify the remains of dozens of people killed during riots more than two decades ago and look for evidence against police and soldiers responsible for slayings during the unrest.

Most relatives of those who died in the 1989 riots, known as the "Caracazo," applaud the probe and hope investigators will be able to identify the victims and give their families a long-awaited opportunity for a proper burial.

Venezuelans across the political spectrum condemned the bloodshed at the time. But for President Hugo Chavez and many of his supporters, the massacre remains a symbol of injustice of past governments. The decision to open the tombs is one of multiple efforts by prosecutors in recent years to investigate cases of wrongdoing under Chavez's predecessors.

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