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Mourning begins in Venezuela

Wednesday - 3/6/2013, 12:18pm  ET

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- A week of national mourning is under way in Venezuela, after the death of President Hugo Chavez (OO'-goh CHAH'-vez).

The streets of the capital are empty, as public employees, schoolchildren and many others stay home. But with Venezuela facing an uncertain future, many have flocked to supermarkets and gas stations to stock up on supplies.

Nicolas Maduro, Chavez's vice president, will continue to run Venezuela as interim president, and will be the candidate of the governing socialists in an election that will take place within 30 days. State TV says the country's defense minister has pledged military support for Maduro's candidacy, despite a constitutional mandate that the armed forces play a non-political role.

Chavez supporters camped out all night outside the military hospital where he died.

His body will remain at a military academy until a Friday funeral that is expected to draw leaders from all over Latin America and the world.

%@AP Links

029-w-37-(Ed Donahue, AP correspondent, with archive audio of Hugo Chavez, through an interpreter and Professor George Ciccariello-Maher)--The announcement has been made in Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez has died. The AP's Ed Donahue reports. Updated: 03/06/2013-04:30:55 AM ET (6 Mar 2013)

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088-r-13-(Sound of Venezuelan national anthem, played on television before the announcement President Hugo Chavez has died)--Sound of Venezuelan national anthem played on television before the announcement President Hugo Chavez has died. (6 Mar 2013)

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GRAPHICSBANK: HUGO CHAVEZ, as Venezuela President, waves during 2002 parade commemorating anniversary of Venezuelan democracy, Caracas, Venezuela, with 1954-2013 lettering, finished graphic (5 Mar 2013)

GRAPHICSBANK: Hugo Chavez, as President of Venezuela, wears a Mexican sombrero as he sings, rally in Caracas, Venezuela, graphic element on gray (6 Mar 2013)

APPHOTO XRM104: A woman holds a picture of President Hugo Chavez outside the military hospital where he died Tuesday in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, March 6, 2013. Seven days of mourning were declared, all school was suspended for the week and friendly heads of state were expected for an elaborate funeral Friday..(AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos) (6 Mar 2013)

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APPHOTO XRM102: A girl holds a poster of President Hugo Chavez outside the military hospital where he died Tuesday in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, March 6, 2013. Seven days of mourning were declared, all school was suspended for the week and friendly heads of state were expected for an elaborate funeral Friday..(AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos) (6 Mar 2013)

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