Chavez’ political heir has revealed that the Venezuelan leader is to be embalmed and preserved just like Lenin, and laid out in the ‘Mountain Barracks’ where he devised a failed coup. The venue will be turned into a Museum of the Revolution.
“We have decided to prepare the body of our Comandante President, to embalm it so that it remains open for all time for the people. Just like Ho Chi Minh. Just like Lenin. Just like Mao Zedong,” said Nicolas Maduro, the provisional president, on state TV. He is Chavez’s designated successor.
Chavez is to be kept in a glass casket in the museum so that he can be seen for “eternity” and his people “will always have him.”
Maduro also said that the former President will lie in state for seven more days, at a military museum, so that people can continue to pay their respects to the leader. The farewell to Chavez was extended as mourners flocked to bid farewells at the military academy since Wednesday, where his glass-topped casket is currently on display.
Inside the casket, the former leader was wearing olive green military dress, a black tie and his signature red beret. He had a red sash across his torso, with the word ‘militia’ on it – the name of the 120,000-strong force which he created.
The government estimated the turnout figure to be around the 2 million mark in a country with a population of 29 million. Many kept a nighttime vigil.
Chavez’s body was transported seven hour procession on Wednesday from the hospital where he died to its current resting place. The official funeral took place on Friday, but the announcement that he is to be embalmed has surprised many, only hours before it was planned to occur. Maduro said that the demand to see the deceased leader was far too great to ignore.