Jackson urges better US-Venezuelan relations at Chavez funeral

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Associated Press

Posted on March 8, 2013 at 4:34 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 8 at 4:36 PM

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — At the funeral for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (OO'-goh CHAH'-vez), the Rev. Jesse Jackson has issued a call for better relations between the United States and Venezuela.

Jackson, delivering a short sermon at the funeral in Caracas, prayed for God to "heal the breach" between the two countries.

Meanwhile, Vice President Nicolas Maduro, the hand-picked successor to Chavez who is being sworn-in today as interim leader, is vowing to fiercely defend his socialist revolution. But while he delivered a fiery speech containing some aggressive rhetoric, he also reached out to the United States, the country he had accused of giving Chavez cancer just three days ago.

He said, "We love all the people of America, but we want relations of respect, of cooperation of true peace."

The guest list at the funeral in large part reflected the Chavez foreign policy of criticizing the United States and befriending countries at odds with Washington. Some of the biggest applause for foreign leaders entering the funeral was reserved for Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (ah-muh-DEE'-neh-zhahd).

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APPHOTO XLAT194: In this photo released by Miraflores Press Office, Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro holds up a replica of Simon Bolivar's sword next to the flag-draped coffin of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez during his funeral ceremony at the military academy in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, March 8, 2013. Chavez died on March 5 after a nearly two-year bout with cancer. (AP Photo/Miraflores Press Office) (7 Mar 2012)

<<APPHOTO XLAT194 (03/07/12)>>

APPHOTO XLAT185: In this photo released by Miraflores Press Office, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gestures over the flag-draped casket of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez during Chavez's funeral ceremony at the military academy in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, March 8, 2013. Chavez died on March 5 after a nearly two-year bout with cancer. He was 58. (AP Photo/Miraflores Press Office) (7 Mar 2013)

<<APPHOTO XLAT185 (03/07/13)>>

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