Venezuela exhumes hero Bolivar’s bones for tests

CARACAS,  (Reuters) – Venezuela exhumed the remains  of 19th century independence hero Simon Bolivar yesterday and  will test them to see if he was poisoned by enemies in  Colombia.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez rejects the traditional  account that Bolivar, a brilliant Venezuelan military tactician  who freed much of South America from centuries of Spanish rule,  died of tuberculosis in Colombia in 1830.

He insists Bolivar was murdered by a Colombian rival, and  Venezuela’s newly inaugurated state forensics laboratory is  taking as its first case the death of the hero some call Latin  America’s George Washington.

“What amazing moments we have lived tonight! We have seen  the remains of the Great Bolivar,” Chavez wrote on his Twitter  account, @chavezcandanga, after the casket was opened before  dawn.

“My God, my God … my Christ, our Christ … I confess we  have cried, we have sworn. I tell them: this glorious skeleton  must be Bolivar because you can feel his presence. My God.”

In footage broadcast on state TV, a military honor guard  clad in white biohazard suits, face masks and blue gloves  marched on the spot alongside the coffin during a ceremony in a  room decorated with a huge Venezuelan flag.  (http://link.reuters.com/fuk97m).

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