Chávez Funeral Kicks Off

    In this photo released by Miraflores Press Office,  Cuba's President Raul Castro salutes as he stands next to the coffin containing the remains of  Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez during his wake at a military academy where his body will lie in state until his funeral in in state in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, March 7, 2013.  Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela's acting president, said Chavez's  remains will be put on permanent display at the Museum of the Revolution, close to the presidential palace where Chavez ruled for 14 years. A state funeral for Chavez attended by some 33 heads of government is scheduled to begin Friday morning.  At right is Chavez's daughter Rosa Virginia Chavez and left is Vice-President Nicolas Maduro.(AP Photo/Miraflores Press Office)

    Cuban Pres. Raul Castro near Chavez's coffin on Thursday. (Miraflores Press Office, via AP)

    It’s a glamorous send-off fit for an infamous comandante. Venezuela’s nationwide week of mourning continued Friday with Hugo Chávez’s star-studded state funeral. Cuban President Raúl Castro and Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were among the dignitaries from 50 countries around the world who paid their respects to the late strongman, while guards restrained wailing citizens from rushing toward his coffin. Chávez’s handpicked successor, Vice President Nicolás Maduro, will be sworn in later in the day.

    Read it at Associated Press