Chavez's body eventually to be displayed 'like Lenin, Mao Zedong'

Story highlights

  • Nicolas Maduro to be sworn in Friday as interim president
  • Chavez, who had cancer, died at 58 on Tuesday; the funeral is set for Friday
  • Chavez's body "will be surrounded by crystal glass forever," Maduro says

The body of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will eventually be displayed publicly "just like Lenin (and) Mao Zedong," the country's vice president said Thursday on state-run TV.

"The body of our leader will be embalmed, and it will ... be surrounded by crystal glass forever, present forever, and always with his people," Nicolas Maduro said.

Maduro will be sworn in as interim president in a special session of the National Assembly at 7 p.m. Friday, said National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello on Thursday on Venezuelan state broadcaster VTV.

The funeral for Chavez, who died at 58 Tuesday after a battle with cancer, will be held Friday in the capital, Caracas.

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Attendees are expected to include Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Cuban leader Raul Castro and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Maduro said.

Venezuela is slated to hold elections 30 days after Chavez died, according to Foreign Minister Elias Jaua.

Hugo Chavez's death draws sympathy, anger

Maduro did not say when Chavez's final resting place, at a military museum, will be ready. But people still will be able to view Chavez's body -- lying in state in a wooden casket at a military academy in the capital -- for at least another week, he said.

"Everybody can see him without any limits," Maduro said. "We want anyone who wants to see him to have the chance to do so."

The South American nation is in a seven-day period of mourning, with schools closed for the week.

Chavez's body later will be displayed much like the remains of former revolutionary leaders Vladimir Lenin of Russia and China's Mao, Maduro said.

Venezuelans line streets for Chavez procession