Chavez embalming 'quite difficult,' acting Venezuelan president says
updated 7:46 AM EDT, Thu March 14, 2013
- Chavez died this month after a battle with cancer
- The original plan was to embalm Chavez
- Scientists say embalming Chavez may be difficult
(CNN) -- 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."
The body of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will be displayed publicly "just like Lenin (and) Mao Zedong," the country's vice president said Thursday on state-run TV. Other world leaders have been on display in their countries, as well.
The displayed bodies of world leaders
Army Lt. Col. Hugo Chavez, who led a 1992 attempted coup, speaks to reporters on March 26, 1994, after he was freed from jail. Chavez was freed after charges were dropped against him for leading the first of two attempted coups against the government of former President Carlos Andres Perez, who was later removed from office.
Photos: Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's vocal leader
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad pays tribute to late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez during the funeral in Caracas, Venezuela, on Friday, March 8.
Photos: Hugo Chavez's funeral
GPS: Venezuela after Chavez
Read: What's behind the display of embalmed world leaders?
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.
Part of complete coverage on
updated 3:04 PM EDT, Thu April 11, 2013
Less than six weeks after President Hugo Chavez's death, Venezuelans will head to the polls Sunday to pick a new leader.
updated 12:36 PM EST, Fri March 8, 2013
The poor, usually marginalized by Latin American politicians, became Chavez's main weapon.
updated 7:46 AM EDT, Thu March 14, 2013
The plan to embalm the body of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez may have hit a snag.
updated 10:31 PM EST, Fri March 8, 2013
The body of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is the latest in a long line of world leaders whose remains have been embalmed and displayed.
updated 5:38 AM EST, Wed March 6, 2013
Hugo Chavez, the polarizing president of Venezuela who cast himself as a "21st century socialist" and foe of the United States, died Tuesday.
What is your reaction to President Chavez's death? How do you think it will affect Venezuela's politics? How does is affect your country?
updated 6:07 PM EST, Tue March 5, 2013
CNN's Rafael Romo looks back at the life of recently deceased Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.
updated 5:05 PM EST, Tue March 5, 2013
Venezuela has been transformed while Chavez was in office. Browse through the picture to explore his legacy.
updated 4:56 PM EST, Tue March 5, 2013
A look back and the life and legacy of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. CNN's Jim Clancy reports.
updated 6:04 AM EST, Wed March 6, 2013
Hugo Chavez played key role in focusing attention on the poor. But Frida Ghitis says in the process of helping the poor, he undermined the democracy.
updated 8:38 AM EST, Fri March 8, 2013
Jesse Jackson: Chavez's death an opportunity for U.S. and Venezuela to heal relations.
updated 10:39 AM EST, Wed March 6, 2013
The death of the charismatic but controversial leader leaves many unanswered questions that Venezuela and the world must now grapple with.
updated 8:35 PM EST, Tue March 5, 2013
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez sings with CNN's Larry King prior to his 2009 interview.
updated 9:06 AM EST, Wed March 6, 2013
News of Chavez's death drew impassioned reactions from around the world, as leaders and other public figures weighed in on his legacy.
updated 2:24 AM EST, Wed March 6, 2013
CNN looks back at some of the more memorable things President Hugo Chavez said during his life -- like calling George Bush the devil.
updated 5:34 AM EST, Wed March 6, 2013
He began his career as a bus driver, then rose through the ranks to become a member of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's inner circle.
updated 2:53 AM EST, Wed March 6, 2013
Chavez will be remembered for improving the wealth and political participation of the poor. But his death leaves an economy in tatters, some say.
updated 10:33 PM EST, Tue March 5, 2013
Kevin Spacey, Naomi Campbell, Diego Maradona. Browse through the pictures of Hollywood icons and global superstars that met Chavez.
updated 5:41 AM EST, Wed March 6, 2013
Chavez cultivated a larger-than-life appearance. But even after years in office, his legacy may be more fleeting than his outsize personality suggested.
updated 5:40 PM EST, Tue March 5, 2013
Watch: In a 2009 interview, Larry King talks to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez about Obama and Venezeula's global role.
Get the latest news, analysis, commentaries and videos from Venezuela in Spanish language on CNN Español.