Caracas, Venezuela — Hugo Chavez’s body will go on permanent display in a glass case after he is embalmed. The decision was made by acting president Nicolas Maduro, who explained that this way “his people will always have him.”
Maduro added that Chavez’s remains will be placed on display at the Museum of the Revolution, which is located near the presidential palace.
But before he is preserved and placed in the glass coffin, the late Venezuelan president will lie in state for seven more days. A state funeral will be held for Hugo Chavez on Friday. About 33 heads of government are expected to attend.
Chavez’s body took a seven hour journey through the streets of Caracas on Wednesday before he was put on display to lay in state at the city’s military academy. Tens of thousands of people have come to pay their respects to the late Venezuelan leader since then.
Much like Russia’s Vladimir Lenin and China’s Mao Zedong, Hugo Chavez’s body is expected to be put on permanent display. Visitors will be able to view the socialist leader’s body in a special tomb that is currently under construction. The new tomb will allow many citizens to come closer to their leader than they had been while he was alive.
The head of Venezuela’s presidential guard, General Jose Ornella, revealed Hugo Chavez’s cause of death on Wednesday. He also explained the leader’s last words. Chavez died on Tuesday of a massive heart attack. He had been recovering from cancer surgery, which he underwent in December.
Ornella added, “He couldn’t speak but he said it with his lips … ‘I don’t want to die. Please don’t let me die,’ because he loved his country, he sacrificed himself for his country.”
Hugo Chavez’s death brings questions about where Venezuela is headed from here. Since his passing, the government has named Maduro acting president in apparent violation of the constitution. The military is apparently also eager to choose political sides.
While many Venezuelans mourn their leader’s death and plan to see his body on display permanently, others are not planning to do so.