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Hugo Chávez's body to go on permanentdisplay

CARACAS, Venezuela -- Hugo Chávez's body will be preserved and forever displayed in a glass tomb at a military museum not far from the presidential palace from which he ruled for 14 years, his successor announced yesterday, emulating the treatment given Communist revolutionary leaders.

Vice President Nicolas Maduro, acting head of state, said Chávez would first lie in state for "at least" seven more days at the museum, which will eventually become his permanent home.

A state funeral today is to be attended by more than 30 heads of government, including Cuba's Raúl Castro and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), and former Rep. William Delahunt (D-Mass.), will represent the United States, which Chávez often portrayed as a great global evil even as he sent the country billions of dollars in oil each year.

"We have decided to prepare the body of our 'Comandante President,' to embalm it so that it remains open for all time for the people. Just like Ho Chi Minh. Just like Lenin. Just like Mao Zedong," Maduro said.

A sea of sobbing, heartbroken humanity jammed the military academy yesterday to to view the body, some waiting 10 hours to file past his coffin. -- AP

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