Chavez death: No alcohol in Venezuela for a week

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Caracas, March 7: Venezuela will be observing seven days of mourning for late president Hugo Chavez and the Interior Ministry of the country has ordered a ban on sales and consumption of alcohol across the country for the seven days period of mourning.

The ban till March 12 is maintain normal conditions for holding a funeral ceremony for Chavez. There will also be a ban on carrying weapons.

Chavez, 58, died Tuesday following a two-year-long tough battle with cancer. His funeral will be held tomorrow (Friday March 8). Venezuelans filed past the open casket of Chavez as he lay in state on Thursday after throngs of weeping loyalists gave the firebrand leftist a rousing farewell on the streets.

Hundreds of thousands waved flags and chanted "Chavez lives" as his hearse crawled across the capital on Wednesday in a seven-hour trip from the hospital where he died to the academy he once called his second home.

Hugo Chavez

The coffin was then placed half-opened in the hall, surrounded by Chavez's grieving mother Elena, who covered her face with a white handkerchief, three of his daughters, son Huguito and a granddaughter, some choking back tears.
The doors were opened for ordinary Venezuelans, who stood in a huge line to pay their respects, some making the sign of the cross, others in uniform giving the military salute, as a four-man honor guard stood by stiffly.

As they mourn for their leader, Venezuelans have began to prepare for an election to succeed Chavez to run the oil-rich South American nation.

A new election is due to be called within what are sure to be 30 tense days.

"After Jesus Christ, there's Hugo Chavez," said Maria Alexandra, a 46-year-old mother of six who said she lived in poverty before Chavez.

"Before him, the government didn't care about us... Now children have everything," she said.

Others expressed hope that Chavez's self-styled "Bolivarian Revolution" -- based on using the country's vast oil wealth for housing, education and social programs -- would live on after him.

But in a country divided by Chavez's populist style, not everyone agreed on his legacy, with opposition supporters in better-off neighborhoods still angry.

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