By Lorena Bornacelly.
Jose Vicente Perez Mora, a man native from El Cobre, a little town located in the north of Tachira state, is currently the oldest living man in Venezuela. This May 27, he celebrated his birthday number 111.
He was born in 1909, before World War I, and in the first year of the Juan Vicente Gomez dictatorship. His parents, Edelmira Mora and Euquitio Perez moved to San Jose de Bolivar, where Jose Vicente currently lives. By the time of his birth, he was the ninth son of the marriage.
Jose Vicente lives with three of his children. He has trouble speaking and difficulty moving around, so he spending his days sitting in a wheelchair. He permanently carries a camandula, a kind of rosary in his pocket, and when he can say a few words, it is usually a prayer.
Work hard and rest
He grew up in a farm-house in San Jose de Bolívar, where he worked in the fields with his father and brothers. At the age of 10, he began to study with the village teacher, however, his education stopped when the teacher became ill, and could not continue teaching. His Venezuela ID card says Jose Vicente doesn’t know how to sign his name.
He spent his life in the Tachira fields, on his father’s farm, where he worked day after day, to which he attributes part of his well-being, as always he has told to his 11 children: “the secret to reaching this age is to rest and work hard”.
However, he also assures that one of his secrets was “to drink miche, not to become an alcoholic, just a little bit of miche a day and that’s it”. Miche is a typical drink in the Venezuelan Andes made with sugarcane water. It is sold in every house or bodega because it is so common and it is drunk pure or mixed with fruits or herbs.
More than 50 years of love
Vicente, or Uncle Vicente, as many call him, met Ediofina García in the village of Los Paujiles. They were engaged for two months and finally married. She was the only woman in his life.
They had six boys and five girls. After more than 50 years of marriage, at 88, his wife died, and his life changed. However, his daughters have taken it upon themselves to be like mothers to him, to give him back everything he gave them.
God forgot to take me
Uncle Vicente believes that God forgot about him and that is why he is still in this world. In a family video recorded in 2017, he stated: “God forgot about me. I have suffered so much, my beloved wife has left, I have seen my children die, my whole family, and I am still here. God forgot to take me”.
He seemed a little down when talking about his late wife, but his family says that he is a blessing to them, that he is a missionary, and that his life has been long so that everyone can enjoy meeting him.
Vicente’s nephew, Freddy Abreu, asking in international forums about other people of similar age, so the Gerontology Research Group (GRG) certified him as the oldest man in Venezuela.
For years, the family is investigating institutes to help them to confirm or certify that Jose Vicente Perez Mora is one of the longest men in Venezuela history, but they haven’t found it.
From Italy, through the social networks, someone contacted him and put him in touch with the GRG to indicate that, according to their databases, he is not only the oldest man in Venezuela but also is the seventh of the oldest in the world.
To receive a Guinness World Record, all they have to do is look for a copy of Vicente’s birth certificate (although his Venezuela ID states his date of birth). However, it has not been possible, because of Coronavirus-related travel restrictions.
Jose Vicente now lives with his two daughters and one granddaughter in San Jose de Bolivar in the quiet of his home. The family takes him out to get some sun at the porch of his house. At 5:30 pm he eats his dinner and goes to sleep when the darkness begins, always with his holy rosary with him.