Corruption, falling oil prices and talk of a coup: The end of Chavez's socialist dream in Venezuela
The government says the body of Hugo Chavez is where it should be, encased in the black marble tomb set in the courtyard of a small military fort overlooking Caracas under the guard of four Hussars and touched by the hands of a constant stream of pilgrims. But then it says a lot of things. Such as claiming that the United States backed a recent plot to bomb the presidential palace. And how in Venezuela all is well.
But Adriangela Yomeiny is content to believe what shes told and on this morning, a public holiday for Mardi Gras, she has come to pay homage. First she inspects the exhibits tracing the rise and untimely death of Mr Chavez from cancer in March 2013, pausing at his hairbrush and a mock-up of his favourite dessert that looks a lot like vomit. Its when she gets to the tomb itself, lilies on its lid, that she crumbles.
Seeing him in this condition, its hard, says Ms Yomeiny, 30, wiping away her tears. She has come with her son from their home in a local barrio, one of the overcrowded, often violent hillside slums that surround Venezuelas capital city. I will always be with Chavez, with the revolution, with Communism. Hers is the love that has kept the Chavez socialist experiment in Venezuela alive, even after his death.
Its also the love that his hand-picked successor, Nicolas Maduro, a former union leader and bus driver, must now depend on. Ms Yomeiny seems ready to oblige. The economic crisis now upon Venezuela, with worsening shortages of daily needs like milk and medicines, is the fault of opposition politicians, she says. They are garbage. They have evil in their blood. But when asked if she loves Mr Maduro as she did Mr Chavez, she hesitates. I like him, she finally says. But Chavez was unique.