World Leaders Gather for Chavez Funeral
(Caracas) – World leaders gathered in Caracas to join throngs of mourners at a state funeral for Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, while the nation begins life without him with the formal swearing-in of his political heir. Venezuela has given a lavish farewell to the leader, with hundreds of thousands of people filing past his open casket nonstop since Wednesday to say goodbye to the man who was worshipped by the oil-rich nation’s poor.
The state funeral began at 11:00 am (1530 GMT) at a military academy. In the evening Nicolas Maduro, who was Chavez’s vice president, will be named acting president and elections are expected to be called within 30 days. Dozens of world leaders are attending the funeral, including Cuba’s Raul Castro, Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Belarussian Alexander Lukashenko.