Chavez embalming 'quite difficult,' acting Venezuelan president says

Hugo Chavez's legacy
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Story highlights

  • Chavez died this month after a battle with cancer
  • The original plan was to embalm Chavez
  • Scientists say embalming Chavez may be difficult

The plan to embalm the body of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez may have hit a snag.

Scientists in a preliminary assessment have determined that the process might be "quite difficult," acting president Nicolas Maduro said Wednesday.

Maduro said at the opening of the Book Fair of Venezuela that scientists argued that "the decision should have been taken much earlier."

Read: What's behind the display of embalmed world leaders?

GPS: Venezuela after Chavez
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He didn't say why -- but added that Chavez will always remain in Venezuela's collective memory

"More than your physical body, we have the commander in eternal memory, especially this generation who heard it, touched it, saw him," Maduro told the audience. "We have to keep alive his image, his voice, his thinking."

Chavez died this month, at 58, after a battle with cancer.

Maduro had initially said his body would be embalmed.

The plan was to have Chavez's body displayed much like the remains of former revolutionary leaders Vladimir Lenin of Russia and China's Mao.

Venezuelan elections are scheduled for April 14 , about six weeks after Chavez died earlier this month.

Maduro filed papers Monday to officially register to run for president.

Photos: The displayed bodies of world leaders

During the televised event, Maduro and his supporters from United Socialist Party of Venezuela sang along with a recording of Chavez belting out Venezuela's national anthem.

"I am not Chavez, but I am his son," Maduro said. "And all together, the people, we are Chavez."

Despite Maduro being from Chavez's political party, there will be a strong challenger for Venezuela's top spot.

Opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski said he was ready for a fight.

Capriles, 40, ran against Chavez last year and lost. But he mounted one of the fiercest challenges during the late president's 14 years in power.

"My fight is not to be president. My fight is for Venezuela to move forward," Capriles said Sunday night.

On Monday, he also filed paperwork to run for the presidency.