Venezuela honors Hugo Chavez at massive funeral (LIVE VIDEO)


People wait in line (R) to view the remains of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as others gather outside the Military Academy on March 7, 2013 in Caracas, Venezuela. Countless Venezuelans waited on a mile-long line to pay their last respects to Chavez before his funeral March 8th.


Mario Tama

The eternally-controversial and locally beloved Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was formally laid to rest in a state funeral Friday. The ceremony attracted throngs of mourners and dozens of world leaders to Caracas.

Chavez, who died at 58 on Tuesday after a prolonged battle against cancer, will now lie in state at a military museum for the next week. Then his body will be embalmed and placed on permanent display, in a fashion reminiscent of the preserved bodies of Lenin and Mao, says Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela's acting president.

Read more from GlobalPost: Hugo and Me: Memoirs of a GlobalPost correspondent covering Chavez

Among the international leaders paying their respects to Chavez were Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and her predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva; Cuban President Raul Castro; Rafel Correa of Ecuador; and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Vice President Nicolas Maduro is set to be sworn in immediately following the funeral, while elections for a new Venezuelan premier must be held within 30 days per the Venezuelan constitution.

Read more from GlobalPost: Hugo Chavez joining group of famous, embalmed leaders

Of the turnout of mourning Chavistas on Friday, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua told Reuters:

"A thousand thanks for the posthumous tributes to a man who fought for world peace, for unity in Latin America and the Caribbean, and for the democratization of global institutions."

He added: "The show of love for the president has been incredible."

[View the story "With Chavez no longer, Chavismo lives on" on Storify]