- (Photo: Reuters)
Hugo Chavez's body will no longer be put on permanent display as originally intended. Officials made the decision given that his body was not in the prime condition for embalming or display.
"More than your physical body, we have the commander in eternal memory, especially this generation who heard it, touched it, saw him. We have to keep alive his image, his voice, his thinking," acting President Nicolas Maduro told a crowd at the Book Fair of Venezuela.
He explained that a group of scientists from Germany and Russia had convened to discuss the future of Chavez's body. They decided that it would be "rather difficult for it to be that way because the preparations needed to be started and the decision (to do so) should have been made much sooner."
Chavez's body has been lying in it's current state for a week now at the Military Academy. A steady stream of visitors has come to pay respects to Venezuela's leader of 14 years. Maduro will remain the acting president until elections are held in April. Maduro has filed papers to register for the election.
"I am not Chavez, but I am his son. And all together, the people, we are Chavez," Maduro told the people.
There are currently no known plans as to how to handle Chavez's body, though it is likely he will be entombed in a prominent location. Venezuelans had hoped to keep his body on display like the North Koreans have done with Kim Jong Il and his father, and the Chinese with General Mao Zedong.
Chavez passed away after a 21-month battle with cancer. The leader's death has caused an outpouring of grief by citizens, ex-patriots, and even world leaders. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad viewed the body and was photographed hugging Chavez's mother, which caused a great scandal throughout Iran.
Under Iranian law, a man is not to have contact with a woman "unless she is drowning at sea or needs medical treatment," Hojat al-Islam Hossein Ibrahimi, member of the Society of Militant Clergy of Tehran told the Iran Pulse.