Reuters International

CARACAS (Reuters) - Vandals have desecrated the tomb of Romulo Gallegos, a revered former president and author of Venezuela's most famous novel "Dona Barbara," his family said on Wednesday.

"They took the marble, and they took his and my grandmother Teotiste's remains. They've robbed my history and part of every Venezuelan's history," his granddaughter Theotiste wrote on Facebook.

Gallegos, of the Democratic Action party, won a presidential election to take power in February 1948 but was kicked out in a military coup nine months later.

His signature work "Dona Barbara," a story about the life and intrigues of a ruthless female landowner in the central cattle-ranching plains, was published in 1929.

One Democratic Action member posted on Twitter a photo of the vandalised tomb in Caracas' sprawling Southern Cemetery, where thieves often steal bones for rituals related to the popular Santeria religion.

(Reporting by Eyanir Chinea; Writing by Andrew Cawthorne and Sarah Dagher; Editing by Richard Chang)

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