On March 13, acting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced the body of deceased former President Hugo Chavez will not be on permanent display as previously declared because of a delay in embalming the communist leader’s remains, according to BBC News.
Originally, acting President Nicolas Maduro proclaimed on March 7 that the remains of the socialist revolutionary would be preserved in a glass sarcophagus for eternity in a building called the Museum of the Revolution, which has yet to be constructed. Hugo Chavez died on March 5 and Maduro declared seven days of official mourning, which has now been extended until March 15.
The proposed plan to embalm the body of Hugo Chavez for purposes of permanent public display is following with traditional communist practices for honoring their dead leaders in perpetuity as a propaganda tool to show the “Socialist Revolution” endures beyond the life personification of the revolutionary.
Acting President Nicolas Maduro backtracked from the original proposal to publicly display the body of Hugo Chavez forever, now saying it is “not possible” when he told supporters:
“Russian and German scientists have arrived to embalm Chavez and they tell us it's very difficult, because the process should have started earlier, immediately and now it's not possible. We are in the middle of the process, and it's complicated.”
While seeming gruesome and morbid to most in the democratic Western nations, the practice of preserving deceased leaders for public display is nearly universal with the remains of dead dictators in communist countries.
The embalmed corpses of Communist Party dictators such as: Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin, Vietnamese revolutionary Ho Chi Minh, Chairman Mao Tse-tung of the People’s Republic of China, all remain on permanent public display. Additionally, North Korean Communist Party dictators Kim Il-sung and his son Kim Jong-il are showcased in glass coffins in the Kimsusan mausoleum.
Obama and Prominent Democrats Pay Respect To Chavez
Los Angeles resident, actor, and longtime Chavez supporter Sean Penn joined Democrat Rep. Gregory Meeks of New York and former Rep. William Delahunt of Massachusetts at the late president’s March 8 funeral in Venezuela.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra director Gustavo Dudamel traveled from L.A. to Venezuela with Sean Penn and led the Simon Bolivar Young Symphonic Orchestra in the playing of the Venezuelan national anthem at the Chavez memorial service on March 8 at the Venezuelan Military Academy, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Prominent civil rights leader and former Democratic presidential candidate Rev. Jesse Jackson also attended the Hugo Chavez memorial.
Controversial filmmaker Oliver Stone, another a prominent Los Angeles resident, called Hugo Chavez a “great hero” and “friend” in a Hollywood Reporter account on the day of the communist dictator’s death. Sean Penn also referred to Chavez as a "friend" the people of the United States never knew it had.
Rep. Meeks and former Rep. Delahunt, both Democrats, were selected by President Barack Obama as the official U.S. delegation to attend the Hugo Chavez funeral.
“At this challenging time of President Hugo Chavez’s passing, the United States reaffirms its support for the Venezuelan people and its interest in developing a constructive relationship with the Venezuelan government.”
In 2009, President Barack Obama shook hands with Hugo Chavez at a Summit of the Americas meeting at which the Venezuelan Communist gave Obama a book titled "Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent" as a special gift.
When asked what he thought of the present Hugo Chavez gave him, President Barack Obama replied:
“You know, I thought it was one of Chavez’s books. I was going to give him one of mine.”
Venezuelans Denied Eternal Chavez Corpse Display
Maduro, who now faces a special national election on April 14 to determine the Venezuelan president to follow the late Chavez, proclaimed the idea to honor the communist revolutionary with a permanent display of his corpse on March 7, by declaring:
“It has been decided that the body of the comandante will be embalmed so that it remains eternally on view for the people at the museum.”
As the handpicked successor to Hugo Chavez, Nicolas Maduro is enduring a turbulent debut on the national stage with the humiliating abandonment of the permanent display of the late president’s dead body because the embalming process began too late.
Former Presidents of the United States – both Democrats and Republicans - typically have presidential libraries to honor the leader and his historic legacy. Most presidents have a formal state funeral and briefly lay in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda for visitors to pay their final respects.
Although it may take a generation of Venezuelans to repair the damage Hugo Chavez and his comrades did to his country and its economy over the last decade and a half, there is still an opportunity for the nation to save itself from yet another socialist despot if voters reject Nicolas Maduro on April 14.
For Hugo Chavez, much as in life, the inability to preserve his corpse like the more powerful socialist tyrants he aspired to symbolizes his legacy as a second-tier mediocrity of a communist dictator.