ATLANTA, March 17, 2012 – The latest in macabre tourist attractions may have hit a snag this week.
“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,” Reuters quoted interim President Nicolas Maduro as saying. “We are in the middle of the process. It’s complicated, it’s my duty to inform you.”
There is good news, however, for anyone who is in to this sort of thing. A number of other dictators’ bodies – from Kim Jong-il to Vladimir Lenin – remain on display around the world.
Lenin, for example, died in 1924, but 89 years after his death, visitors can take in Lenin’s Mausoleum, located near the Kremlin in Moscow. From time to time, Russian officials debate whether to bury Lenin, but have so far declined to do so.
However, former Russian dictator Josef Stalin’s body was once on display alongside Lenin, but removed in the 1960s.
Elsewhere in the world, the bodies of China’s Mao Tse Tung and Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh are also on display in their respective countries. Until Chavez, Kim Jong-il was the most recent dictator to be so honored in the afterlife, and his postmortem keepers have apparently done a more commendable job than the keepers of other deceased leaders.
“They’ve done a good job – he looks very lifelike compared to other mausoleums,” The Australian newspaper in January quoted British travel agent Richie Fenner as saying. “I’ve been to Mao’s and Lenin’s mausoleums, and this was certainly a lot better than Mao’s, which is a very rushed and underwhelming experience.”
Kim Jong-il is on display alongside his father, Kim Il Sung. No word yet on current North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s future plans for a post-life display, the optimal plan when a traditional burial – or even an obelisk – just won’t do.
As of yet, no U.S. presidents are on display. However, the body of President Abraham Lincoln was exhumed a number of times (and his body viewed a half dozen of those times) after his assassination in 1865; he was finally encased in concrete for good in 1901.