Chávez may not be embalmed
The late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’s body is highly unlikely to be embalmed as was planned, the Venezuelan Government has announced.
Nicolás Maduro, Venezuela’s acting president, acknowledged on Wednesday that it could be too late to preserve Chávez’s body, as “preparatory steps should have been taken much earlier”.
Russian and German scientists who arrived in Venezuela to embalm Chávez have advised that in order to forestall decomposition a body needs to be chemically treated within hours of death unless refrigerated and it is “quite difficult and complicated” now.
Aged 58, Chavez died on 5th March after a two-year long battle with cancer. Two days past his death, Maduro had announced that Chavez’s body would be preserved for “eternity” much in a similar way as was done with the remains of leaders Lenin, Stalin and Chairman Mao after they died.
However, such a move would have been against Chávez’s wishes as he had expressed to be buried on the plains in his home state of Barinas, a report states.
Years ago Chávez had said: “Have me buried, here, along these savannahs. This is an order I’ve given, when my time comes.”
His body has been on display in a glass-topped coffin at a grandiose military academy in Caracas, where millions of people are visiting to pay homage to the leader. The seven-day mourning period declared after his death has also been extended until Friday 15th March.
After Friday, his body will be transferred from the military academy to a museum on a hilltop overlooking the Miraflores presidential palace.
Chavez’s death has brought an outpouring of emotion in Venezuela, especially amongst the millions of his supporters who viewed him almost as a religious figure even before his death.