Global Politics

Embalming El Commandante: How Hugo Chavez Will Get the Lenin Treatment

Venezuela's Interim President Nicolas Maduro announced Thursday that Chavez's body would be embalmed and laid out in the Revolution Museum in Caracas.

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On Thursday Venezuela's Interim President Nicolas Maduro, announced that Chavez's body would be embalmed and laid out in the Revolution Museum in Caracas.

"Just like Ho Chi Minh, like Lenin, like Mao Tse Tung, the body of our president will be embalmed in the Museum of the Revolution so he can be viewed in a glass coffin, so that our people can have him forever," announced Maduro.

Where did this tradition of embalming socialist leaders begin?

Lenin is credited as the first Socialist leader to be embalmed but, turns out, it wasn't his idea. After he died a committee called the Immortalization Commission was set-up to figure out how to continue his leadership, and thus the revolution post-mortem.

However, the idea of preserving one's self for eternity is a very basic human impulse that we all share according to Stephen Cave, the author of "Immortality: The Quest to Live Forever."

Anchor Aaron Schachter talks with Cave about the practice of embalming leaders throughout history.

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    Credit: REUTERS
    A Russian serviceman takes a picture of Lenin's Mausoleum in Red Square in central Moscow during a military parade training, April 29, 2008. REUTERS/Mikhail Voskresensky (RUSSIA) - RTR200YF
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    Credit: REUTERS
    Supporters of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez react as they view his coffin during a wake at the military academy in Caracas in this March 7, 2013 picture provided by Miraflores Palace. Authorities have not yet said where Chavez will be buried after his state funeral on Friday. REUTERS/Miraflores Palace/Handout (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS OBITUARY) ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS - RTR3EONI

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