Latin American heads of state have been joined by other leaders from around the world as they attended the funeral service of Venezuela’s charismatic and controversial President Hugo Chavez.
In a ceremony marked by emotion and music the eclectic mix of mourners paid their official respects.
Vice-President Nicolas Maduro presented the coffin with the sword of office. Chavez’s body is to lie in state for an extra seven days to allow the millions of Chavez supporters, mainly Venezuela’s poor, to say their goodbyes. Afterwards it will be embalmed and put on permanent display.
Maduro is to be sworn in as acting president until elections which must be called within 30 days.
Numerous leaders have paid special tribute to Chavez who while seen as a divisive leader by some is also said to have changed the face of politics in South America.
Among them Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who praise him as a martyr and a wise and revolutionary leader.