Venezuela's acting president, Nicolás Maduro, has said that Hugo Chávez's embalmed body will be permanently displayed in a glass crystal casket so "his people will always have him".
Maduro said the remains would be put on permanent display at the Museum of the Revolution, near the presidential palace where Chávez ruled for 14 years. Maduro said the president's body would lie in state first for at least another seven days. "You will see the commandante. He belongs to you," Maduro told Venezuelans.
A state funeral for Chávez attended by at least 33 heads of government is scheduled to begin on Friday morning at 11am local time.
Tens of thousands of people have already filed past his glass-topped casket at a military academy following a seven-hour procession on Tuesday when his body was transported from the hospital where he died. Chávez was dressed in an army uniform and a signature red beret like the one he wore in a 1992 speech to the nation that launched his political career after he led a failed coup.
People were given just a few seconds to glance at Chávez's body inside the relatively simple wooden coffin, which had a glass top and was draped in flowers and a Venezuelan flag.
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