Nightly News   |  March 08, 2013

Chavez funeral brings dignitaries from around the world

Leaders from just about every country in Latin America, as well as Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and a small delegation from the U.S., turned out for the funeral of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. NBC’s Mark Potter reports.

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>>> a sea of mourners turned out today for the funeral of hugo chavez in venezuela . among them, high-profile world leaders and a familiar face to a lot of americans. our report tonight from caracas and nbc's mark potter .

>> reporter: the funeral drew presidents and diplomats from around the world. chavez ally castro of cuba, mahmud ahmadinejad from iran and leaders from every country. the reverend jesse jackson spoke on his own.

>> let there be peace between nations.

>> reporter: chavez will lie in state for another week. already, hundreds of thousands of venezuelans will pay respects. a special tomb honoring him as chavismo. when chavez was in power in this plaza, the relationship between venezuela and the united states was often strained to the breaking point. in fact, just this week, hours before chavez died, venezuela expelled two u.s. military attashees. analysts say relations are unlikely to improve especially if nicholas ma duro wins the presidential election next month. but the extensive oil trade between the u.s. and venezuela is likely to continue unchanged with little impact on u.s. gas prices .

>> we'll continue to buy their crude oil . and venezuela will continue to buy gasoline and diesel fuel from the u.s. and we both will continue to need each other.

>> reporter: what no one knows is how long chavismo will survive without chavez himself. mark potter , nbc news, caracas, venezuela .