Monday, July 19, 2010 at 1:54 p.m.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez seems to be acting absolutely insane. At least more than usual. He took to Twitter to let the world know he cried tears of joy after seeing the 180-year-old remains of South American hero Simón Bolívar. Chávez had the corpse exhumed with the hopes of somehow proving Bolívar died due to poisoning by Colombian rivals and not through disease. Yes, Chávez literally wept at the sight of the skeleton. Bonkers.
Bolívar was a Venezuelan military leader and former president who led much of South America to political independence from Spanish rule and set the groundwork for democracy in much of the country.
Chávez has already metaphorically desecrated Bolívar's grave by subverting the democratic system in Venezuela for which Bolívar helped fight (though, then again, Bolívar did decide to name himself dictator once), but now Chávez has quite literally desecrated the man's grave.
History has it that Bolívar died at the age of 47 after a battle with tuberculosis. Chávez seems to believe Colombian rivals poisoned Bolívar. It's probably not at all a coincidence that Chávez himself has an antagonistic relationship with the present-day leaders of Colombia.
So now Chávez has had Bolívar's bones dug up and wants to prove, somehow, the guy was poisoned.
When Chávez first saw the bones, he apparently cried.
"What amazing moments we have lived tonight! We have seen the remains of the great Bolívar," Chavez tweeted in Spanish when the casket was opened.
"My God, my God... my Christ, our Christ... I confess we have cried, we have sworn. I tell them: This glorious skeleton must be Bolívar because you can feel his presence. My God."
Chávez even had a ceremony involving the casket broadcast on television.
A U.S. scientist, analyzing records of Bolívar's symptoms, said it's possible he was a victim of arsenic poisoning. However, the scientist said it's unlikely the death was murder, and it might have resulted from levels of the poison in water or medicine.
Venezuela exhumes hero Bolivar's bones for tests