Funeral Held for Late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
The funeral for the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez is under way in Caracas, with leaders from five continents on hand.
The funeral is taking place at the military academy where Chavez has been lying in state.
Inside the funeral hall, more than 30 political leaders stood at attention in front of the flag-draped coffin
Meanwhile, Vice President Nicolas Maduro, the hand-picked successor to Chavez who is being sworn-in today as interim leader, is vowing to fiercely defend his socialist revolution. But while he delivered a fiery speech containing some aggressive rhetoric, he also reached out to the United States, the country he had accused of giving Chavez cancer just three days ago.
The guest list at the funeral in large part reflected the Chavez foreign policy of criticizing the United States and befriending countries at odds with Washington. Some of the biggest applause for foreign leaders entering the funeral was reserved for Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Chavez died at 58 Tuesday after a long battle with cancer. Thousands of his supporters lined the streets Wednesday in a procession from the military hospital where he died to a military academy where Venezuelans could view him.
Chavez first announced his cancer diagnosis in June 2011, but the government never revealed details about his prognosis or specified what kind of cancer he had.