Chavez funeral - WFLA News Channel 8

Chavez funeral a platform for Venezuela government's bid to bolster support for his legacy

Posted: Updated:

The stage is set for President Hugo Chavez's last appearance on the world stage, with leaders from five continents in Venezuela's anxious capital for a funeral Friday to remember a man who captivated the attention of millions and polarized his nation during 14 tumultuous years in power. 

The ceremony will mark a dramatic exit for a president who quarreled publicly with presidents and kings and ordered troops via live television to defend his country's borders. It promises to also give his successors a prime opportunity to rally public support for continuing his political legacy.

Yet with basic details about the event unknown just hours before its scheduled start, the funeral also reflected a leader who tightly controlled all aspects of his government. Government officials said it would begin at 11 a.m. local time, but didn't specify where it would take place or what would actually happen.

For nearly two years, and even after his death Tuesday, Chavez's government has been similarly tight-fisted with information about Chavez's cancer, not indicating exactly where or what it was.   

More than 30 heads of government, including Cuban President Raul Castro and Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, were scheduled to attend. U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks, a New York Democrat, and former Rep. William Delahunt, a Democrat from Massachusetts, represented the United States, which Chavez often portrayed as a great global evil even as he sent the country billions of dollars in oil each year.

Venezuelan officials estimate as many as two million people have paid their respects to the late leader. Many of them lined up outside a military academy and waited hours to pass by Chavez's flag draped coffin. To memorialize the leader, Venezuelan officials intend to embalm Chavez's body and keep it on permanent display at a mausoleum.

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Are background checks enough for Florida teachers?

    Are background checks enough for Florida teachers?

    Friday, April 18 2014 7:41 PM EDT2014-04-18 23:41:35 GMT

    In an effort to weed out potential perverts, Florida law requires fingerprinting and criminal background checks before school districts hire employees that will have any contact with children.

    In an effort to weed out potential perverts, Florida law requires fingerprinting and criminal background checks before school districts hire employees that will have any contact with children.


  • Pasco mix-up sends registration notices to wrong drivers

    Pasco mix-up sends registration notices to wrong drivers

    Friday, April 18 2014 6:02 PM EDT2014-04-18 22:02:51 GMT
    The vehicle registration information of hundreds of drivers in Pasco County were sent to the wrong person in a mix-up that led to the firing of a contractor.
    The vehicle registration information of hundreds of drivers in Pasco County were sent to the wrong person in a mix-up that led to the firing of a contractor.
  • Flushable wipes, not so flushable says Tampa's wastewater officials

    Flushable wipes, not so flushable says Tampa's wastewater officials

    Friday, April 18 2014 3:52 PM EDT2014-04-18 19:52:20 GMT
    Personal wipes, baby wipes, face wipes, flushable wipes. They are all designed to help us deal with delicate issues. But the wipes themselves are actually pretty sturdy and increasingly local water systems are finding they are creating costly problems.
    Personal wipes, baby wipes, face wipes, flushable wipes. They are all designed to help us deal with delicate issues. But the wipes themselves are actually pretty sturdy and increasingly local water systems are finding they are creating costly problems.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Restaurant Buzz: Free McDonald's breakfast, steakhouse closes, Tampa Ferg's

    Restaurant Buzz: Free McDonald's breakfast, steakhouse closes, Tampa Ferg's

    Saturday, April 19 2014 10:17 AM EDT2014-04-19 14:17:16 GMT
    A Ferg's Sports Bar & Grill is scheduled to open across the street from the TBT Forum in August. Facebook photoA Ferg's Sports Bar & Grill is scheduled to open across the street from the TBT Forum in August. Facebook photo
    No doubt, dining out is a popular pastime here in Tampa Bay. We're here to keep you informed. Here's this week's "dish" about what's happening at Tampa Bay restaurants.
    No doubt, dining out is a popular pastime here in Tampa Bay. We're here to keep you informed. Here's this week's "dish" about what's happening at Tampa Bay restaurants.
  • Captain of sunken SKorean ferry, 2 crew arrested

    Captain of sunken SKorean ferry, 2 crew arrested

    Saturday, April 19 2014 9:41 AM EDT2014-04-19 13:41:52 GMT
    The captain of the ferry that sank off South Korea, leaving more than 300 missing or dead, was arrested early Saturday on suspicion of negligence and abandoning people in need. Two crew members also were taken into...
    The captain of the ferry that sank off South Korea, leaving more than 300 missing or dead, was arrested Saturday on suspicion of negligence and abandoning people in need. Two crew members also were taken into custody,...
  • Sleeping Sarasota woman killed when car slams into home

    Sleeping Sarasota woman killed when car slams into home

    Saturday, April 19 2014 9:34 AM EDT2014-04-19 13:34:06 GMT
    The car struck the home early Saturday morning. The car struck the home early Saturday morning.
    A 62-year-old Sarasota woman was killed early Saturday morning when a fleeing suspect crashed her vehicle into a home.Eleanor Ball, who was sleeping in a back bedroom at the time, died at the scene. The incident occurred at approximately 3:30 a.m.
    A 62-year-old Sarasota woman was killed early Saturday morning when a fleeing suspect crashed her vehicle into a home.Eleanor Ball, who was sleeping in a back bedroom at the time, died at the scene. The incident occurred at approximately 3:30 a.m.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.