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DRAMATIC EXIT Chávez Funeral Begins in Venezuela Cuban Pres. Raul Castro near Chavez's coffin on Thursday. (Miraflores Press Office, via AP)

Chávez Funeral Kicks Off

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.

March 8, 2013 12:31 PM