U.S. Congressmen Join Sean Penn at Chavez's Funeral
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's funeral on Friday attracted foreign leaders, athletes, liberal celebrities, reports CBS News:
In the funeral hall, more than 30 political leaders including Cuba's Raul Castro and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stood at attention before Chavez's flag-draped coffin. Many of them were welcomed by Nicolas Maduro, the vice president who will later be sworn in as interim president. The glass-topped coffin, which has been open since Wednesday, was shut for the funeral.
Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-NY) and former Congressman William Delahunt (D-MA) attended the Venezuelan autocrat's funeral. Hollywood actor Sean Penn and Reverend Jesse Jackson were also at the funeral. "We pray God today that you will heal the breach between the U.S. and Venezuela," Jackson said.
Led by Cuba's ambassador, The United Nations Human Rights Council observed a minute of silence on Wednesday for the deceased Venezuelan leader who passed away from cancer. According to a State Department Official, the U.S. delegate was in the room with all other delegations for the moment of silence.
Update: Rep. Meeks issued the following statement on Mar. 7:
Congressman Gregory W. Meeks Statement on his Upcoming Trip Representing the United States at the Funeral of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
WASHINGTON, D.C.--Congressman Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee released the following statement on his upcoming trip representing the United States at the Funeral of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez:
“I am honored to be a part of a delegation that will represent the United States at the Funeral of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Friday, March 8. I will be joined on this delegation by former U.S. Representative William Delahunt, and U.S. Embassy Caracas Chargé d'Affaires James Derham.
“My deepest sympathies go out to the family of President Chavez and the people of Venezuela. Venezuela is an important nation to the Western Hemisphere. I remain committed to building the relationship between our nations. As always, I stand in continued support of the Venezuelan people especially at this time of mourning."