Hugo Chavez’s permanent embalming may not happen after all, according to acting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
Chavez, who passed away two weeks ago, was supposed to be embalmed and placed on permanent display in the military museum, much like Ho Chi Minh in China and Vladimir Lenin in Russia.
Hugo Chavez’s body is currently laying in state at a military academy in the capital of Caracas. Millions of people have passed through the building to pay homage to the late president, who lost his battle with cancer earlier this month.
Maduro initially announced the permanent embalming two days after the president died. He announced in televised comments on Wednesday that the embalming may not work. Maduro explained:
“Russian and German scientists have arrived to embalm Chavez and they tell us it’s very difficult because the process should have started earlier… Maybe we can’t do it.”
Maduro added that the process is complicated and they will still try to follow through, but it may not work out. A formal announcement is expected to be made later this week about the process. The acting president implied that Hugo Chavez’s body would still be moved to the museum, but it is not clear how long he would be able to stay on display.
At least seven world leaders have been placed on permanent display after their deaths. Along with Lenin and Ho Chi Minh, those leaders include Joseph Stalin (who was later buried), Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines, Kim Jong Il of North Korea, Kim Il Sung of North Korea, and Mao Zedong of China. All of the men, with the exception of Stalin and Marcos, are still on display at mausoleums or palaces in their respective countries.
Stalin was buried decades later, while Marcos’ body lies in the basement of his widow’s mansion, encased in a glass coffin. Despite the team involved in Hugo Chavez’s permanent embalming, it is likely that the process was simply started too late to take hold. Authorities say that the Venezuelan president died on March 5.