Hugo Chavez’s body is to be embalmed and put on display after his funeral, Venezuela’s Vice-President Nicolas Maduro says.
The decision reflects the huge crowds queuing to pay their respects in Caracas, where he is lying in state.
Hugo Chavez’s body will be moved to a military museum after the state funeral on Friday, Nicolas Maduro said.
Hugo Chavez, who led Venezuela for 14 years, died on Tuesday after a long battle with cancer.
More than two million mourners have already filed past his body at the military academy in Caracas, queuing for hours to see him lying in state.
Leaders from Latin America and beyond are gathering in Caracas for his funeral on Friday, and Nicolas Maduro said the ceremony would go ahead as planned.
His body would be embalmed “like Lenin and Mao Zedong”, and put on display for at least another seven days, Nicolas Maduro added.
The body will be moved to the Caracas military museum, where Hugo Chavez – then an army officer – was captured in 1992 after leading the failed coup attempt that first brought him onto Venezuela’s political stage.
The building will be converted into a new “museum of the revolution”, Nicolas Maduro said.
Hugo Chavez’s body is to be embalmed and put on display after his funeral
Hugo Chavez’s supporters want him eventually interred in Venezuela’s national Pantheon alongside Simon Bolivar, the 19th Century independence leader the late president claimed as his political inspiration.
But Venezuela’s constitution says people can only be admitted to the Pantheon 25 years after their death.
The Venezuelan government says more than 30 world leaders – mostly from Latin America and the Caribbean – will attend the funeral on Friday morning.
Among them will be President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran.
Hugo Chavez died on Tuesday after a two-year battle with cancer that saw him have four operations in Cuba.
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez has unveiled a 3-D reconstruction of the face of Simon Bolivar, who died in 1830 after leading the fight against Spanish colonial rule in the region.
The computer-generated image was created by artists studying Simon Bolivar’s remains.
It looks remarkably like known portraits of the South American liberation hero.
Two years ago Hugo Chavez ordered that the remains should be exhumed.
Simon Bolivar was widely thought to have died from tuberculosis aged 47.
But Hugo Chavez had a theory that Simon Bolivar had been poisoned in revenge for his fight against the Spanish empire.
Forensic tests were inconclusive.
Hugo Chavez has unveiled a 3-D reconstruction of the face of Simon Bolivar
The 3-D image was unveiled at Miraflores presidential palace in the capital, Caracas, on the 229th anniversary of Simon Bolivar’s birth.
“Bolivar is the fight that does not end, he is born every day in ourselves, in his people, in the children, in the fight for life and for social justice,” said Hugo Chavez, a big admirer of the Venezuelan-born national hero.
“He was, is and will be one of the greats of humanity, a true giant of the human cause.”
Simon Bolivar’s remains will reside in a new mausoleum built in central Caracas. It was built with marble imported from South Africa and cost around $78 million.
Many cities in South America have monuments honoring the man known as The Liberator.
He began his fight against the Spanish empire in the early 1800s and after independence became the president of Gran Colombia, which covers much of modern Colombia, Panama, Venezuela, Ecuador and northern Peru.
A few years later, the Republic of Bolivia was created. Simon Bolivar became one of the few men to have a country named after h
President Hugo Chavez’s fascination with Simon Bolivar has been evident throughout his presidency.
In 1999, within a year of taking power he changed the country’s name from plain “Venezuela” to “the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela”.
Hugo Chavez claims to be a political successor to Simon Bolivar, who fought for the establishment of a democratic state for people in South America.
President Hugo Chavez says his form of socialism is a continuation of these principles.
He may not be too impressed by the news that his opponent in this year’s elections, Henrique Capriles, is allegedly related to Simon Bolivar.
A Venezuelan genealogist claims Henrique Capriles is the descendent of Simon Bolivar’s illegitimate brother Juan Agustin.