Embalming El Commandante: How Hugo Chavez Will Get the Lenin Treatment

The World
The World
Venezuela's Interim President Nicolas Maduro announced Thursday that Chavez's body would be embalmed and laid out in the Revolution Museum in Caracas. On Thursday Venezuela's Interim President Nicolas Maduro, announced that Chavez's body would be embalmed and laid out in the Revolution Museum in Caracas. "Just like Ho Chi Minh, like Lenin, like Mao Tse Tung, the body of our president will be embalmed in the Museum of the Revolution so he can be viewed in a glass coffin, so that our people can have him forever," announced Maduro. Where did this tradition of embalming socialist leaders begin? Lenin is credited as the first Socialist leader to be embalmed but, turns out, it wasn't his idea. After he died a committee called the Immortalization Commission was set-up to figure out how to continue his leadership, and thus the revolution post-mortem. However, the idea of preserving one's self for eternity is a very basic human impulse that we all share according to Stephen Cave, the author of "Immortality: The Quest to Live Forever." Anchor Aaron Schachter talks with Cave about the practice of embalming leaders throughout history.