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Chavez embalming 'quite difficult,' acting Venezuelan president says

By Marilia Brocchetto, CNN
updated 7:46 AM EDT, Thu March 14, 2013
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

(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 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
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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. 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.
Political career of Hugo Chavez
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Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad pays tribute to late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez during the funeral in Caracas, Venezuela, on Friday, March 8. Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad pays tribute to late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez during the funeral in Caracas, Venezuela, on Friday, March 8.
Hugo Chavez's funeral
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Photos: Hugo Chavez\'s funeral 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.

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