(FNA) – The body of Venezuela’s late leader Hugo Chavez was taken to the Historic Military Museum as the government ruled out the option to embalm his body.
Communication and Information Minister Ernesto Villegas announced Friday, through his twitter account, that a Russian scientific committee had investigated the body of Chavez and concluded that to carry out the embalmment, his remains would have to be transferred to Russia for a period of seven or eight months, Xinhua reported.
“Following this report, the option of embalming was ruled out, it was a heartfelt feeling for many compatriots”, said Villegas.
The Historic Military Museum, which is located in the city’s working-class neighborhood of 23 de Enero, in Northwest Caracas, is the site where Chavez’s body will remain until officials decide on a final resting place.
Supporters want him to be buried next to Latin American independence hero Simon Bolivar, a man Chavez greatly admired and named his Bolivarian Revolution after.
The body of the former paratrooper had been lying in state at the capital’s Military Academy since the day after his death on March 5 from cancer, and millions had visited to pay their respects.
Crowds filled the streets during Friday’s two-hour march to the barracks, where the body of the socialist reformer was received with military honors and cannon fire under the 32 flags of member nations of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), the regional bloc Chavez helped found.
The casket was transported some 20 km inside a black hearse draped with the Venezuelan flag and followed by a two-column motorcade of the National Guard, as air force planes flew in formation overhead.
Attending the ceremony were members of Chavez’s family, acting President Nicolas Maduro, along with the entire cabinet and Bolivian President Evo Morales, who was a close political ally of Chavez.
“Thank you for your total dedication, thank you, Commandant, for giving us back our country”, his daughter Maria Gabriela said in an emotional tribute, as she read a letter pledging to continue the socialist struggle spearheaded by her father.
Chavez governed Venezuela for 14 years and had recently been re-elected to another six years.
Venezuelans will go to the polls on April 14 to elect a new president. Maduro, who Chavez named to succeed him, is running as the candidate of the ruling socialist party against conservative opposition candidate Henrique Capriles, who lost to Chavez in the October elections.
Closing the ceremony, Maduro said, “Today we begin the march without your presence, but with you in the lead”.
He also promised to defeat the opposition in the upcoming electoral race and continue to fight for Chavez’s ideal.
Venezuela’s related authorities currently are deliberating on the final resting place for Chavez’s remains.
The Venezuelan parliament is considering a motion to amend the country’s constitution to allow Chavez’s body to be buried in the National Pantheon, close to the remains of Latin American independence pioneer Simon Bolivar.
Venezuela’s current constitution stipulates that leaders can only enjoy that honor 25 years after their death.
Other voices suggest Chavez’s body be taken to his hometown Sabaneta to fulfill his wish to lie alongside his grandmother.