Venezuela election date set

Venezuela will hold a presidential election on April 14 as acting President Nicolas Maduro, the successor to Hugo Chavez, tries to win his own term in office.

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World leaders and celebrities attending Chavez funeral

Among some 30 world leaders and other dignitaries attending Hugo Chavez's funeral are the following:

  • President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran
  • President Raul Castro of Cuba
  • President Evo Morales of Bolivia
  • President Rafael Correa of Ecuador
  • President Dilma Rousseff and former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil
  • Film actor and director Sean Penn
  • President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus
  • US civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson

About 50 countries have sent delegations, including the US and Canada.

Mourners keep queueing as Chavez's funeral proceeds

by - Former International Editor
Supporters of Hugo Chavez rest at a tent while waiting for a chance to view his body lying in state Credit: REUTERS/Tomas Bravo

Hugo Chavez's funeral got under way with a 30-gun salute and formal introductions of some 30 world leaders.

But still there are crowds of people queueing for their chance to see the leader's body in its open casket. Many are chanting "Chavez lives and so does the revolution!"

An estimated two million people have filed past the leader's open casket since yesterday.

Scenes are not as chaotic as yesterday when dozens were injured in the crush.

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Chavez's home town pays tribute to its famous son

Portraits and flowers set up in the centre of Sabaneta, Barinas State
Portraits and flowers set up in the centre of Sabaneta, Barinas State Credit: RTV

Portraits and flowers have been left in the centre of Sabaneta, Barinas State - Hugo Chavez's home town.

Crowds have gathered at the makeshift shrine to pay their respects, the president funeral will happen today after his death at 58 after a two-year battle with cancer.

A supporter raises his fist in salute before the Credit: RTV

Gallery: From prison to President - Hugo Chavez a life in pictures

Crowds gathered in the centre of Sabaneta
Crowds gathered in the centre of Sabaneta Credit: RTV

Huge crowds gather in Caracas ahead of Hugo Chavez funeral

A massive crowd has gathered outside the Military Academy where the body of Hugo Chavez has lain in state since his death
A massive crowd has gathered outside the Military Academy where the body of Hugo Chavez has lain in state since his death Credit: RTV

Huge crowds gathered again outside the Military Academy where the body of Hugo Chavez has lain in state since his death.

His funeral is due to start shortly.

Yesterday dozens were injured in the crush to view the president's body.

Read: Hundreds of thousands queue to bid Chavez farewell.

Ahmadinejad praises 'dear friend' Hugo Chavez ahead of funeral

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arriving in Caracas for the funeral of Hugo Chavez
Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arriving in Caracas for the funeral of Hugo Chavez Credit: RTV

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has arrived in Caracas for funeral of ally and 'close friend' President Hugo Chavez.

Speaking to reporters President Ahmadinejad said;

"He was a dear friend to all the countries of the world. To us, President's Chavez loss is very painful because we've lost a friend, a close friend and a revolutionary and just leader. To me, he had a big personality and a very close friend and brother. I feel like I lost myself."

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arriving in Caracas for the funeral of Hugo Chaves
Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez pictured together during a previous trip to Caracas Credit: RTV

"He was a great man with very big, humane dreams. I express my solidarity with the people of Venezuela, with all of the people of Latin America and with all the countries of the world. And we promise to realize and materialize his ideas which were so valuable.

"I am certain God will help us and the spirit of President Chavez will be watching us and will help us from the heavens."

Embalming of Chavez: The showman's final act

by - Former International Editor

It is astonishing that Hugo Chavez's cancer ridden corpse is two be embalmed and put on display in a military museum, the same museum where he was captured after leading a failed coup 20 years ago.

Embalming and displaying him, the showman's final act.

Meanwhile the veneration and deification of Chavez continues, with people queuing comparing him to Christ, his face on crucifix scenes.

The cult of Chavez was strong in his lifetime. It is about to get a much more powerful.

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More than 20 world leaders expected at Chavez funeral

by - Former International Editor

Venezuelan authorities estimate that well over two million people have now paid their respects to their dead President Hugo Chavez.

More than 20 world leaders are expected to attend the funeral tomorrow, including Iran's Ahmadinejad and leaders from Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay.

There will be a funeral for Chavez, but he won't be buried. Authorities still can't decide where he will rest. But he will be embalmed, like Lenin.

Hugo Chavez' body to be permanently on display

Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro has just announced on national TV that Hugo Chavez's funeral will take place tomorrow morning.

Around 30 heads of state are expected to attend along with delegations from 50 countries.

Maduro also said that Chavez's body will return to lying in state for public viewing for seven further days after the funeral to allow more people to see him.

Chavez's body will then be preserved like that of Lenin and Mao Zedong so "he will always be with the people". A special tomb is now under construction in the mountains where he launched his revolution.

Maduro again called for calm and thanked the public for respecting the solemnity of the occasion.

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