THE President of Venezuela has revealed a peculiar sleeping habit: he frequently beds down in the mausoleum of his late predecessor, Hugo Chávez.
The remains of the former president were placed in a tomb in Mountain Barracks, a converted 19th-century fort in a run-down area of Caracas, after he died of cancer in March.
Speaking from the Barracks, President Nicolás Maduro said: “I sometimes come at night. At times, many times, I sleep here.” Maduro, who apparently brings a whole entourage along with him, added: “We enter at night and we stay to sleep. At night we reflect on things here.”
The tomb is housed in the ornate central atrium of the military barracks and is guarded around the clock by soldiers with red and yellow hussars uniforms and swords, explains The Times.
The site – a Socialist shrine, now named the Museum of the Revolution – is where Chávez plotted a failed 1992 coup when he was an officer in the Venezuelan Army, an act that landed him in jail.
Maduro is widely known for his devotion to Chávez and has capitalised on his long-standing ties to the late leader. In April, the bus-driver-turned-president “raised eyebrows” when he claimed Chavez had appeared to him as a bird while he was praying in a chapel and endorsed his election campaign by chirping at him.
“The bird looked strangely at me,” explained Maduro. “He whistled for a little while, flew around and left, and I felt the spirit of [Chávez].”
Peter Hakim, a senior fellow of the think-tank Inter-American Dialogue, says Maduro’s latest claim suggests he is again appealing to Chavez supporters to hold on to power.
“Some would look at this and say it’s a little strange for someone to try and talk to a person who’s already died,” Hakim told Fox News Latino. “But Maduro knows that his first task is to hold together the Chavista group.” ·