Hugo Chavez body laid to rest at Caracas military museum
Hugo Chavez’s body has been laid to rest at a military museum in Venezuela’s capital, Caracas.
Thousands of people lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the hearse as it carried the president’s coffin from the military academy where it laid in state for 10 days.
Many of his supporters were wearing red, the color of Hugo Chavez’s political movement.
Hugo Chavez, who led Venezuela for 14 years, died of cancer last week.
His coffin was received by a military guard of honor.
Religious and political ceremonies were held at the military museum, attended by Hugo Chavez’s chosen successor Nicolas Maduro.
It is not yet clear what will happen to Hugo Chavez’s body in the longer term.
Nicolas Maduro asked the National Assembly to reform the constitution to allow Hugo Chavez’s body to be buried in the National Pantheon, together with the most important leaders in Venezuela’s history.
Hugo Chavez, for his part, had said he wanted to be buried in his hometown in Barinas.After Friday’s ceremonies, the country’s Information Minister, Ernesto Villegas, said the government had dropped plans to embalm Hugo Chavez for permanent display.
Ernesto Villegas said the decision was made at the advice of Russian experts who said Hugo Chavez’s body had not been properly prepared. The embalming process would take seven to eight months.
Earlier in the day, political and military authorities joined Hugo Chavez’s relatives for a ceremony at the military academy where his remains lay in state for 10 days.
“Thanks, comandante, for giving us back our fatherland,” said one of Hugo Chavez’s daughters, Maria Gabriela, in an emotional eulogy.
“You have left us unexpectedly and have left an enormous vacuum in Venezuela,” said one of Hugo Chavez’s former teachers at the military academy, Major General Jacinto Perez Arcay.
Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have visited the coffin of their former leader.
Shortly after Hugo Chavez’s death was announced on March 5, the government declared seven days of mourning, which was later extended to 10 days.