President Chavez will be honored at a state funeral Friday, attended by 30 heads of state. The United States is sending a diplomatic delegation.
Thousands of grieving Venezuelans waited for as long as 10 hours to look at Chavez's body in Caracas.
President Chavez died Tuesday after a two-year fight against cancer. He was 58 years old.
Chavez, a staunch socialist, was elected president in 1998. He earned the enmity of the United States and others for such policies as nationalizing major companies and courting world leaders such as Fidel Castro, Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Libya's Moammar Gadhafi.
The country's opposition accused him of being a dictator. But millions of poor Venezuelans revered him for using the country's vast oil wealth to give them access to low-cost food, free medical care and other social programs. However, experts say Chavez failed to control crime or use oil wealth to enrich the overall economy.