Venezuela Bans Booze to Mourn Chavez
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Venezuelans won't be able to pour one out over the death of President Hugo Chavez because the sale and consumption of alcohol has been banned nationwide for a week. The Venezuela Interior Ministry will enforce the dry mourning period, along with a ban on carrying weapons, until March 12. Instead, throngs of Chavez loyalists may pass the time weeping or chanting over his flag-draped casket at a funeral service open to the public. “After Jesus Christ, there's Hugo Chavez,” says a sober mourner who says her family lived in poverty before his reign. “Before him, the government didn't care about us... Now children have everything.” This is not the first time a country has implemented a state-mandated dry spell after the passing of a leader. After Kim Jong-il's death last year, North Korea implemented a 100-day mourning period in which citizens were to abstain from "pleasurable" activities, including drinking alcohol. One North Korean officer accused of drinking was allegedly “forced to stand on a spot that had been zeroed in for a mortar round and 'obliterated.'” No word on what kind of punishment the Venezuelan government has planned for those who break the ban.