Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos attended on Friday the funeral of the late Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas
Santos travelled with Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin and the mayor of Colombia’s capital of Bogota, Gustavo Petro. The Colombian delegation joined 22 other heads of state from around Latin America and the world in making the trip to Caracas to pay tribute to the deceased Venezuelan leader.
“I confess, his [Chavez] death hurts me. It hurts me because I had developed a relationship with him that benefited both Venezuelans and Colombians, despite the difficulties,” said Santos while in Caracas.
Chavez, whose body had been on display in the Military Academy since Wednesday, was put in his final resting place on Friday. In an unexpected twist, the Venezuelan Vice President announced on Thursday that Chavez would not be buried in a traditional manner, but embalmed “just like [other socialist leaders Vladimir] Lenin [and Chines communist party leader] Mao Zedong.”
Before his departure Santos emphasized the importance of his relationship with his counterpart across the border, citing a trust “which significantly helped the struggle for peace in Colombia.” Chavez had allegedly been a key facilitator in the peace talks between the Colombian government and Colombia’s largest left-wing rebel group, FARC.
Hugo Chavez died on Tuesday after long and drawn out battle with cancer.
- Presidente Santos llegó a Caracas para asistir a funerales de su homólogo Venezuela, Hugo Chávez (Government press release)
- Presidentes latinoamericanos viajan a Venezuela para rendir tributo a Chávez (Telesur)
- Primeros ministros de 22 paises estarán en actos fúnebres de Chavez (Proceso)
- Leaders arrive for Chavez funeral (CNN)