Funeral For Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Held In Caracas

9:23 PM, Mar 8, 2013   |    comments
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Courtesy: Getty Images

Caracas, Venezuela -- World leaders, athletes and left-wing celebrities are among those attending Friday's funeral in Caracas for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

As the funeral got under way, a line of people who were still waiting to see Chavez's body stretched for a mile and a half.

The funeral at a military academy, where Chavez has been lying in state, began with Venezuela's national youth orchestra performing the national anthem. In the streets outside, there was a carnival atmosphere, with military bands launching into marches. Crowds of supporters wore the red of Chavez's socialist party. They watched the ceremony on huge monitors under a blazing sun.

Inside the funeral hall, more than 30 political leaders stood at attention in front of the flag-draped coffin. They included Cuba's Raul Castro and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Many of them were welcomed by Vice President Nicolas Maduro, who is be sworn in later on Friday as interim president.

The United States is represented by congressman Gregory Meeks, a New York Democrat, and former Democratic congressman William Delahunt of Massachusetts.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson was invited to speak, and TV cameras also captured actor Sean Penn in attendance.













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