Lying in State Taken to a Whole New Level
That was quite a show last Wednesday in Caracastan: tens of thousands of Venezuelans following the casket of Hugo Chavez, straining to touch it, or merely get a glimpse of it. That swarm of sycophants showed the world that Hugo was no monster, but rather a saint, beloved by his people. The world’s press covered the event in detail, and the images made their way around the globe.
April fool! Only it’s not April yet....
Poetic justice, even if unintentional, is still poetic justice. The casket was empty. Yes, empty. So say some Venezuelan military officials. All of those thousands upon tens of thousands of red-clad idolaters offered worship to an empty coffin, just as they had to a lying buffoon and his empty promises, while he was alive. It was yet another cheap trick, the final lie in a long string of carefully crafted lies fervently believed by many Chavistas.
And it all smells too strongly of Castro -- so strongly, in fact, that it must be true.
ABC Spain reports that sources within the military hierarchy of Venenozuela have confirmed that the real details surrounding the death of Hugo Chavez were hidden from the public and that much of what unfolded in the past few days has been a carefully orchestrated charade.
Here are the bare details:
Hugo Chavez died in Havana, around 7 am on Tuesday morning.
At noon, vice president Maduro and other top government officials had a tense meeting and then held a news conference, at which Maduro pretended that Chavez was still alive, but fighting for his life.
When the death of Chavez was finally announced around 4:30 pm, his copse was still in Havana, and was not flown to Caracas until after dark. Maduro, however, led the world to believe Chavez had died at the military hospital in Caracas.
The plane carrying Chavez's remains landed at a small air base, La Carlota, and the corpse was immediately taken to a small military hospital known as El Hospitalito, which is 7 kilometers across town from the large military hospital where Maduro claimed that Chavez had died. From there the corpse was secretly whisked to the Military Academy.
In the early hours of Wednesday morning, a coffin was brought to the large military hospital, and some heavy weights were placed inside, to create the illusion that it contained a corpse.
The faked transfer of his corpse from the large military hospital to the Military Academy was carefully planned to create a public spectacle.
The slow seven-hour “transfer” of Chavez’s “corpse” took place in searing tropical heat. Had his yet-to-be-embalmed corpse really been inside that coffin, it would have begun to decompose, perhaps beyond repair. In the meantime, as the empty coffin made its way through the streets of Caracas, morticians readied the corpse for public viewing and burial.
Once the empty casket reached the Military Academy, it was taken to the basement, where no cameras were allowed – on the pretense that the coffin had to be cleaned up after its grueling manhandling by the people of Caracas. It was there that the switch was made, and Chavez’s corpse, now dressed in a military uniform, was placed in the coffin, carried out by soldiers as the cameras rolled again, and taken to the spot where it would lie in state for public viewing.
Some of those who have seen the corpse say that it looks nothing like the chubby, rosy-cheeked Chavez in those photographs released only a few days earlier, which were supposed to convince the public that all was well with their cancer-stricken president-elect.
So, there you have it: one more lie heaped on a mountain of lies. Does it make a difference? Not really, but if this is all true, it does seem a very fitting send-off for a monumental liar, and a fitting first step for the liars who are taking his place.
And,even more fitting: all of this gives a whole new meaning to the expression "lying in state."