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Huge Crowds, Foreign Leaders Attend Chavez Funeral


Venezuelans rest as they wait for a chance to view the body of President Hugo Chavez lying in state at the military academy in Caracas on March 8.

Venezuelans rest as they wait for a chance to view the body of President Hugo Chavez lying in state at the military academy in Caracas on March 8.

Foreign leaders and diplomats are in Caracas for the funeral of Hugo Chavez, joining hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans who are paying their respects to their late president.

Some 30 heads of state are present for the state funeral at a military academy.

Most Latin American leaders are attending the funeral, as well as longtime allies like Cuba's Raul Castro, Iran's Mahmud Ahmadinejad, and Belarus's Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

READ: Ahmadinejad Under Fire For Making Chavez A Messiah

Chavez, who died from cancer at the age of 58 on March 5, will lie in state seven days to allow more people to see him.

Vice President Nicolas Maduro said on March 7 that Chavez will then be embalmed "like Ho Chi Minh, Lenin, and Mao" and kept in a glass casket "for eternity."

Maduro was to be sworn in as acting president later in the day, with elections expected within 30 days.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP
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