Daniel Lansberg-Rodriguez '13: "A Tomb for the Pharaoh of Barinas"

A tomb for the Pharaoh of Barinas
Daniel Lansberg-Rodriguez, '13
Foreign Policy
March 8, 2013

Despite holding a political philosophy based, in part, on valuing groups above individuals, Marxist governments have long been fond of embalming particularly memorable leaders and putting them on permanent display. Lenin, Mao, Stalin, Ho Chi Minh, two generations of Kims, Gottwald, Dimitrov.... The list goes on and on.

Yet despite Latin America's strong regional tradition of leftwing populism, this practice has never really caught on. With the exception of the Inca mummies and Eva Perón (who only ever held minor political positions and was preserved at the behest of a distraught husband, not a government), nature has generally been allowed to take its course upon even the most venerated of corpses.

This may be changing however. On Thursday afternoon, following several days during which thousands of Venezuelans waited in multi-kilometer queues to pay respects to the body of Hugo Chávez, acting president Nicolás Maduro announced that El Comandante's mummified cadaver would be placed within a "crystal urn" in a yet-to-be-completed Caracas museum, so that the people could "see him for eternity."