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Venezuela to get first standing Chavez statue

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Venezuela's first standing statue of the late leftist leader Hugo Chavez will be erected in a square in the western city of Merida, officials said Monday.

Standing 7'3" tall (2.2 meters) and weighing in at 728 pounds (330 kilograms), the bronze depiction shows Chavez in military fatigues, beret, and presidential sash, his right hand on his chest and his left hand raised.

Poet and sculptor Manuel Suescun, who was commissioned to make the piece, is completing a clay model and then a bronze casting, which takes about a month.

The designated square is being prepared for the statue's arrival, although Merida officials have not yet determined when the statue will be unveiled.

Suescun's work is the first standing Chavez statue to be placed in a public square.

In May, Russia gave Venezuela a Chavez bust, which has been placed in the Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas.

Chavez died on March 5, 2013, after a nearly two-year battle against cancer that forced him to undergo several cycles of chemotherapy in Havana.

The populist leader won the hearts of the poor by lavishing Venezuela's oil wealth on social programs, while also inveighing against US "imperialism" and befriending Washington's foes in Havana, Tehran and Damascus.

During his funeral, supporters stood in long lines at the Venezuelan Military Academy to pay tribute to their leader. Chavez's remains are in Caracas.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130723/venezuela-get-first-standing-chavez-statue