Hundreds of thousands of mourners gathered in the streets of Caracas on Wednesday to witness the funeral procession of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.
As seen in the above video, some Chavistas along the funeral route are carrying Venezuelan flags and clad in red clothes, a color popularized by Chávez during the fourteen years of his presidency.
"Chavez gave us everything," reportedly said one mourner interviewed on state-run television.
Several senior government figures including Interim President Nicolás Maduro and congressional chief Diosdado Cabello are heading the procession of Chávez’ casket from a military hospital to the Fuerte Tiuna Military Academy. Bolivian president Evo Morales, a staunch Chávez ally, has also taken part in the procession.
Prior to the procession, a twenty-one-gun salute was held in honor the president who died on Tuesday while a visibly distraught Elena Frías de Chávez wept over the casket of her son.
“Chávez al Panteón, junto con Simón,” shouted some of his followers in reference to the Panteón Nacional mausoleum where Chávez might be buried near the remains of Latin American independence icon Simón Bolívar.
The presidents of Uruguay and Argentina are among those leaders from around Latin America that have arrived in Venezuela for a state funeral that is planned for this Friday.
As we mentioned yesterday, Chávez had been diagnosed with cancer nearly two years ago and he went through four surgeries to treat the disease. His last public appearance occurred last December shortly before he traveled to Cuba for his most recent cancer surgery.
Foreign Minister Elias Jaua announced yesterday that presidential elections would be called within a constitutionally mandated thirty-day deadline though no date has been specified. That election could pit Maduro, who Chávez selected as his successor prior to his last surgery, against opposition figure and 2012 presidential election runner-up Henrique Capriles.
Venezuela’s post-Chávez future is uncertain though as a Christian Science Monitor article noted, the late president’s legacy is debatable:
Venezuela, post-Chávez, is more equal and more democratic, says Mark Weisbrot, a longtime Chávez supporter and co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington. “In spite of its problems, the country, by any standard political science measure, was more democratic [under Chávez] than it ever was before,” Mr. Weisbrot says. “That’s why he kept getting reelected.”
But for Caracas-based political analyst Jose Vicente Carrasquero, Chávez’s legacy is one of irrationality – politically, economically, and socially.
“He came in on a horse promising that he was going to be the solution,” says Mr. Carrasquero.“But we are in a much worse situation than we had before.”Video Source– YouTube via teleSUR
Online Sources - Christian Science Monitor, The Latin Americanist, El Universal, CNN, NBC News, BBC Mundo