After 14 years as the president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez died when he was 58. His death was announced 4 days later, based on the tradition followed by socialistic countries in announcing deaths of their leaders. First they strengthen their borders and take internal security measures to make sure that their enemies cannot take advantage of the situation; then only they announce the incident to the public. With US as their key enemy, it is no wonder why they do that!
Chavez’s official funeral is on 15th Friday and his body will be embalmed to keep him look alive to his followers in the next few decades to come. This again is seen commonly in socialists and communists. Chavez is going to get the same treatment that Vladimir Lenin, Ho Chi Minh, Mao Tse-Tung got. Highly successful chemicals and the embalming process used remains a secret in the hands of socialists.
Just like Chavez, dead bodies of yours and mine are likely to get the embalming treatment when the time comes. The difference is that the embalming job is simple for an average persons body, to keep it look good for a few days. But for Chavez, it needs to remain for decades. This is not the job for the local funeral agent; but for a embalming specialist.
Decomposing of the human body starts immediately after death. Intestines as well as respiratory tract will be attacked by the bacteria; enzymes generated in the body starts to self-destruct. Formalin is the most common and widely used chemical used to kill the bacteria and stabilize the enzymes. Formalin is Formaldehyde(CH2O) dissolved in water. When formalin is pumped into the blood circulation system, it strengthens the proteins of the cells and makes them stiff. These high end embalmer specialists use a super strong solution of formalin with better purity values with other preservatives added to increase its effectiveness.
One problem with formalin is that it dries the body tissues by absorbing water. Muscles starts shrink and shrivel and the body will “age” due to this. Therefore Vaseline is a commonly used as a moisturizer to prevent this. To keep fingers of the dead body looking alive, wool wax (lanolin) is applied.
Tissue decomposition is expressed by the body temperature. Lower the temperature, higher the effectiveness of the treatment. Thus the Body is usually kept under 7 Celsius in a closed container. The container fluid as well as body clothing will be changed regularly to maintain the freshness. Caretakers of Chavez will have to closely examine his body to see signs of deterioration.
Whatever embalmers do, embalmed bodies have expiry dates. They cannot keep the bodies forever. All this is done by the government of Venezuela to keep their great leader under showcase as long as possible and show to the world that they are still living. Similar needs of ancient Egyptian kings were fulfilled using mummification which is a much superior technique in terms of the time to expiry. Many believe that the secret ingredients used for mummification are uncovered to a certain extent and is also used for modern day high end embalming; and to make Chavez look alive.