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Venezuelan President claims Chavez wall appearance

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has claimed an image of his predecessor the late socialist leader Hugo Chavez has appeared on the wall of an underground construction site.

Maduro, who showed a photo of a white-plaster wall with marks that appear like eyes and a nose, said Chavez's face had briefly appeared to workers building a new subway line in Caracas in the middle of the night.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (L) shows a metro tunnel wall with an image which he says is the face of the late Hugo Chavez Credit: Reuters

Speaking on state television, the president said: "My hair stands on end just telling you about it. Who is that face? That gaze is the gaze of the fatherland that is everywhere around us, including in inexplicable phenomena."

Maduro - who was elected president in April after the death of Chavez - has previously spoken of seeing the spirit of his idol several times, including in the shape of a bird.

Chavez's body 'will not be embalmed for display'

The Venezuelan government has decided the body of former president Hugo Chavez will not be embalmed for permanent display, according to the country's information minister.

Ernesto Villegas wrote on Twitter that the option has been dismissed based on the advice of a Russian medical commission.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez died on 5 March following a long battle with cancer. Credit: PA Wire

He said the government was told that Chavez's body would have to be sent to Russia for seven to eight months to be properly embalmed.

Acting President Nicolas Maduro announced last week that Chavez's body would be put on display, but on Wednesday said that now seemed "highly unlikely".

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Venezuelan opposition leader to challenge for presidency

Henrique Capriles, Venezuela's opposition leader and governor of the state of Miranda, addresses media. Credit: Reuters

Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles said he will challenge the late Hugo Chavez's preferred successor for the presidency of the South American OPEC nation next month, setting the stage for a bitter campaign.

Capriles, a 40-year-old state governor, will face election favourite and acting President Nicolas Maduro. The pair have until Monday to register their candidacies for the vote on April 14th.

The election will decide whether Chavez's self-styled socialist and nationalist revolution will live on in the country with the world's largest proven oil reserves.

Venezuela's opposition leader 'to run for president'

Opposition leader Henrique Capriles will run for president in Venezuela's April election and is expected to formally announce the decision later today, two sources in his camp said.

Henrique Capriles, Venezuela's opposition leader and governor of the state of Miranda. Credit: Reuters/Tomas Bravo

"There's a lot of negativity around, it's going to be tough, but we're going to do it", one of the sources told Reuters.

"Henrique's made his decision. He's not backing down."

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Venezuela's acting president calls for snap election

Nicolas Maduro received the presidential sash from National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello. Credit: REUTERS/Jorge Silva

Acting Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro has asked the country's election authority to call a vote immediately.

Officials are expected to announce the election date on Saturday as the South American country appoints a permanent successor to Hugo Chavez.

Mr Maduro, meanwhile, also named the late president's son-in-law Jorge Arreaza as his vice president during his time as interim leader.

Venezuela's interim president begins with fist pump

Nicolas Maduro has raised his fist to his supporters after being controversially sworn in as Venezuela's interim president. Credit: RTV/VTV
Mr Maduro has taken the acting role despite objections from opposition leaders, who claimed the ceremony is unconstitutional. Credit: RTV/VTV
The interim leader had considerable support at the ceremony in Caracas though. Credit: RTV/VTV

Venezuela says 'goodbye' to President Hugo Chavez

With the queues to see Hugo Chavez's body still snaking through the capital, Venezuala said goodbye to the man who has dominated politics in the country for decades.

Some 30 head of state from around the world were among the mourners at his state funeral; many of them visibly emotional.

ITV News' International Editor Bill Neely reports from Caracas:

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