On Friday, Venezuelan Communications Minister Emilio Ernesto Villegas Poljak said that the Venezuelan government decided not to embalm the body of late President Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías. Chávez, who ruled Venezuela for 14 years, died on March 5 at the age of 58 after a two-year-long fight with cancer. The Venezuelan government announced the possibility of his embalming two days after his death. Sr Villegas wrote in his Twitter blog on Friday night, “We’ve ruled out the idea of embalming the body of Comandante Chávez after a Russian medical commission report, although many Venezuelans had hoped for this option”. According Sr Villegas, the Russian experts said that Chávez’s body would have to go to Russia for seven to eight months for them to embalm it properly.
On Friday, thousands of Venezuelans escorted a black hearse carrying a casket with Chávez’s body on a 12-kilometre (7.5 miles) trip from the Military Academy to the Military Museum in Caracas. The honour guard placed the casket in a marble sarcophagus in the central hall of the museum. Access to the sarcophagus will be open on Saturday for those who want to pay tribute to the late Venezuelan president. Venezuela will hold snap presidential elections on 14 April. Miranda State Governor Henrique Capriles Radonski, who lost to Chávez by a narrow margin during last year’s elections, will oppose acting President Nicolás Maduro Moros, whom Chávez named his successor before undergoing the latest surgery in December.
15 March 2013