Venezuelans bid farewell to Chavez

CNC report from Caracas
Added On March 7, 2013

Venezuelans have bid farewell to their late President Hugo Chavez.

Tens of thousands of mourners crowded around the hearse carrying his body through the streets of the capital, Caracas, on Wednesday.

Chavez's body will lie in state until he's buried on Friday.

The funeral march started on Wednesday from the Military Hospital in Caracas, where Chavez spent his last moments, to the Military Academy, where his funeral will be held on Friday.

Despite the strong sunshine, tens of thousands of Venezuelans dressed in red shirts underneath black and crowded roads surrounding the hospital for the solemn parade.

The tribute began with a discreet Catholic religious ceremony at the main gate of the hospital, followed by a marching band.

Hostesses and the presidential honor guard led the wooden coffin holding Chavez's body across the Venezuelan capital.

The coffin was placed on the roof of a vehicle decorated with white flowers. Ahead of the car were several motorcycles clearing the way while the crowd pressed behind.

Men and women cried in the streets and chanted the president's name.

Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro, Bolivian President Evo Morales and some high-level officials took part in the ceremony.

More than 10 leaders from different countries have confirmed they'll attend Chavez's funeral to be held in Caracas on Friday.

Chavez died on Tuesday after struggling against cancer for nearly two years.