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Thousands of people have been queuing to pay their respects to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who died on March 5. He is lying in state at the Caracas military academy.

The government has announced that he will be embalmed.

Chavez’s chosen successor, and Venezuela’s interim President, Nicolas Maduro says the decision has been made to preserve the body:

“We decided to prepare the body of the President, to embalm him, so the coffin can stay open forever. The people will have him in his museum of the revolution. Like Ho-Chi-Min, like Lenin, like Mao,” Maduro said.

Mourner Leonardo Murga, who has seen Chavez’s body, said it had a “good” appearance: “It’s not like we are going to say, ‘how sad, how thin’. He is normal, robust!”

A state funeral is due to be held on March 8. The wake will continue for another week, then Chavez’s body will be laid to rest.

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