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Venezuela's Hugo Chavez stirs drama even in death

March 16, 2013|By Sandra Hernandez
  • Members of the presidential Honor Guard carry a coffin with the remains of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as it arrives at a temporary resting place at the former 4 de Febrero barracks.
Members of the presidential Honor Guard carry a coffin with the remains… (Venezuelan Presidency…)

Last week, Venezuela’s government announced that President Hugo Chavez’s body would be re-embalmed and placed under glass for eternal viewing.

But this week, the idea was abandoned after interim President Nicolas Maduro said Russian and German experts had advised him against the idea because too much time had passed to properly preserve the late president’s corpse. Chavez died this month after battling cancer.

So in other words, poor planning appears to have derailed the government’s effort to preserve the president’s body for future generations to view and draw inspiration from.

CARTOONS: The quotable Hugo Chavez

No doubt, Maduro’s critics will use the unexpected turn of events as further evidence of the government’s incompetence. Maduro is Chavez’s handpicked successor. Venezuelans vote for a new president next month.

Opposition leader Henrique Capriles, who announced his candidacy this month, has already accused Maduro of using the corpse for campaign purposes.

In fairness to Maduro and his Cabinet, I think Capriles' accusation is a bit harsh. I would imagine that only a handful of experts around the world are skilled at preserving a corpse for all of eternity. And it probably required a little research to track down those experts, even with the help of Google.

Frankly, I’m glad Chavez’s corpse will be buried. Keeping his body under glass is, well, kind of creepy. Besides, Chavez is said to have favored being buried in his hometown of Sabaneta.

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