Venezuela says permanently embalming Hugo Chávez's body faces 'technical' difficulties

David Paulin
Venezuelan leaders keen on displaying Hugo Chávez's embalmed corpse in a museum -- just like exhibitions of Lenin, Mao and Ho Chi Minh - apparently overlooked a television interview in which Chávez denounced the public display of corpses as "macabre," "disrespectful," and a product of "moral decomposition."  Now, Venezuela's leaders have all but dropped plans to display Chávez's body in a military museum.

 

Venezuela's Acting President Nicolás Maduro, speaking in Caracas on Wednesday during the opening of a book fair, made no mention of the television interview that's now being widely circulated on Spanish-language television channels, YouTube, and social networking sites. Rather, Maduro claimed top scientist from Russia and Germany had been consulted about persevering Chávez's corpse, and they agreed that the endeavor would be "very difficult" due to "technical" difficulties.

 

The problem, Maduro explained, is that "the preparation and the decision (to preserve Chávez's body) should have been taken much earlier." He did not elaborate.

 

Chávez, during a television interview in 2009, was his rambling self when he referred to a controversial show that had opened in Caracas called "The Exhibition." It displays preserved human corpses dissected to reflect human anatomy. Critics have called the show ghoulish, voyeuristic, and immoral. The bodies, donated by the Chinese government, include corpses posed so that they appear to be playing the piano or conducting an orchestra.

 

Chávez described such displays as "macabre," "disrespectful," and a product of "moral decomposition." He made no mention of public displays of dead communist leaders whose governments he had admired.

 

Maduro provoked applause when he said that, rather than preserving Chávez's "physical body," it was important "to keep alive his image, his voice, his thinking."

 

Say what you will about Hugo Chávez, he was right about ghoulish displays of human corpses -- whether by hard-line communist governments or trendy museum exhibitions.


Venezuelan leaders keen on displaying Hugo Chávez's embalmed corpse in a museum -- just like exhibitions of Lenin, Mao and Ho Chi Minh - apparently overlooked a television interview in which Chávez denounced the public display of corpses as "macabre," "disrespectful," and a product of "moral decomposition."  Now, Venezuela's leaders have all but dropped plans to display Chávez's body in a military museum.

 

Venezuela's Acting President Nicolás Maduro, speaking in Caracas on Wednesday during the opening of a book fair, made no mention of the television interview that's now being widely circulated on Spanish-language television channels, YouTube, and social networking sites. Rather, Maduro claimed top scientist from Russia and Germany had been consulted about persevering Chávez's corpse, and they agreed that the endeavor would be "very difficult" due to "technical" difficulties.

 

The problem, Maduro explained, is that "the preparation and the decision (to preserve Chávez's body) should have been taken much earlier." He did not elaborate.

 

Chávez, during a television interview in 2009, was his rambling self when he referred to a controversial show that had opened in Caracas called "The Exhibition." It displays preserved human corpses dissected to reflect human anatomy. Critics have called the show ghoulish, voyeuristic, and immoral. The bodies, donated by the Chinese government, include corpses posed so that they appear to be playing the piano or conducting an orchestra.

 

Chávez described such displays as "macabre," "disrespectful," and a product of "moral decomposition." He made no mention of public displays of dead communist leaders whose governments he had admired.

 

Maduro provoked applause when he said that, rather than preserving Chávez's "physical body," it was important "to keep alive his image, his voice, his thinking."

 

Say what you will about Hugo Chávez, he was right about ghoulish displays of human corpses -- whether by hard-line communist governments or trendy museum exhibitions.