Venezuela honours Simon Bolivar's lover Manuela Saenz

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The full state honours on the airport tarmac in San Antonio de Tachira, on the border with Colombia, suggested that one of the Venezuelan government's closest allies was about to touch down.

But, as the plane landed and the door opened, it was not a head of state or a neighbouring president who emerged but a delegation carrying a small wooden box.

Inside are what the government of Hugo Chavez calls the "symbolic remains" of one of the country's 19th Century independence heroes, Manuela Saenz.

Known as the Liberator of the Liberator, Saenz was the lover of the forefather of modern Latin America, Simon Bolivar, whom she once helped save from assassination.

On Monday, her remains were laid alongside those of her lover in the national pantheon building....

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