Friday, March 15, 2013

Unlikely modern mummy

Following the death of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, I read that the government intended to permanently preserve his body in a military museum so that it could remain on display like that of Communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, still enshrined in Moscow 89 years after his death. Soon after that announcement was made, I received an inquiry from Spanish journalist Carlos Benito and offered the following quote, which he translated and used in his article in Las Provincias:

"I think that governments sometimes don't realize what a big responsibility it is to permanently embalm their leaders. Traditional embalming is only intended to keep the body presentable for a matter of days. To enshrine a body under glass is going to require especially strong preservation and continued maintenance to ensure that at least the visible parts of the body don't deteriorate."
I was not surprised to learn that the Venezuelan government may be abandoning their plans. "Russian and German scientists have arrived to embalm Chavez and they tell us it's very difficult because the process should have started earlier....Maybe we can't do it,'' states acting President Nicolas Maduro.

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