Leaders from around the world gathered in Caracas for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s funeral Friday
OSCAR LEÓN, TRNN: Leaders from around the world gathered in Caracas for Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’s funeral service.
More than 30 heads of state and various other diplomats from Latin America and all over the world were present for the event, which began this morning and was televised live around the country.
Meanwhile, multitudes of supporters surrounded the Military Academy, still waiting for their chance to pay respects to their beloved president.
Vice President Nicolás Maduro led the ceremony, giving an emotive speech on Chavez’s legacy. Maduro explained that Chávez had asked them to help him write some final words in case he died, a sort of final message, but that his ministers simply could not do it.
NICOLÁS MADURO, VENEZUELAN VICE PRESIDENT: We couldn’t carry out that order. It was impossible. But he had already carried out that order by himself. All of our commander’s life has been a testament. His words, his passion, his work, his people, the people of Venezuela, is his testament.
LEÓN: Maduro outlined several major tasks that Chávez left for the Venezuelan people to continue, including a continuation of what Chávez called 21st-century socialism.
MADURO: He left a system of principles and values, five of them. The first is to maintain the independence and achievements of this Bolivarian popular revolution.
The second objective is to construct our own socialism, diverse, democratic, and Latin American rooted.
The third, to project Venezuela as part of a more powerful Latin America that will be constructed in the next few years. We see that represented here in the diversity of presidents who attended this ceremony.
Number four is to construct a world of balance, of Bolivarian balance without empires.
The fifth objective is an historic one: to contribute to the preservation of the planet and the survival of the human race.
LEÓN: The world leaders present were called in groups to stand and flank the president’s casket and observe a moment of silence.
Many key figures of Venezuelan public life who emerged on the scene thanks to support from the Chávez government, such as Olympic medalist Rubén Limardo and world-famous Venezuelan musician Gustavo Dudamel, they were also called on to stand with the casket for a moment of silence.
There were several musician performance of various Venezuelan songs by various Venezuelan artists, while Maduro placed on Chávez’s casket a replica of Simon Bolivar’s sword, a gift that Chávez often offered to foreign dignitaries.
Hollywood actor and personal friend of Chávez Sean Penn was also present, as was the Reverend Jesse Jackson, who offered a prayer.
REV. JESSE JACKSON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Today we’re here not because Hugo Chávez has died, but because he lived. We pray God today that you will heal the breach between the U.S. and Venezuela.
LEÓN: Masses of people still waited outside the building for their turn to view Chávez, and it became clear that there were no way everyone will be able to have a chance to pay their respects before the funeral service. This led Maduro to announce yesterday that Chávez will be preserved and put on the permanent display in a military museum so that all Venezuelans could have a chance to visit him.
Maduro explained that his body would remain in its current location for at least seven more days for those who wish to view him.
President of the National Assembly Diosdado Cabello swore in Vice President Nicolás Maduro before the National Assembly as interim president in a formal ceremony Friday evening.
Opposition legislators objected on constitutional grounds and most did not attend the ceremony.
DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.