Chavez's body brought 'home' to military academy
By Paul Haven, APCARACAS, Venezuela--Hugo Chavez has been carried back to the military academy where he started his army career, his flag-draped coffin lying in state in the echoing halls as a mile-long (1.5 kilometer-long) line of mourners came to pay homage Thursday to the larger-than-life leader.
March 8, 2013, 12:34 am TWN
Cannon boomed a salute each hour as Venezuelans numbering in the hundreds of thousands filed past.
“I waited 10 hours to see him, but I am very happy, proud to have seen my comandante,” said 46-year-old Yudeth Hurtado, who was weeping. “He is planted in our heart.”
As a band played the hymn from his first battalion, Chavez's coffin was displayed at the academy after an emotion-drenched procession through Caracas.
With the entire government, including anointed successor Nicolas Maduro, caught up in the seven-hour procession, there were few answers to the most pressing question facing the country — the timing of a presidential election that must be called within a month.
Chavez's coffin made its way through the crowds Wednesday atop an open hearse on an eight-kilometer (five-mile) journey that wound through the city's north and southeast, into many of the poorer neighborhoods where Chavez drew his political strength.