The Reverend Jesse Jackson has given a short sermon at the funeral of Hugo Chavez.
The US civil rights activist paid tribute to Chavez for raising the hopes of the poor and helping them to achieve their dreams.
He also expressed his hope that Venezuela and the US would heal their differences.
Among the guests listening intently to the sermon was the actor and director Sean Penn.
More than 20 world leaders are expected to attend the funeral today, but there will be no burial as he will be embalmed.
Thousands flocked to the streets of Caracas to see the coffin of Chavez travel through the city to lie in state until Friday's funeral.
A look back at the life of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez who has died at the age of 58 after a two-year battle with cancer.