Just when you thought that things in Venezuela couldn’t get any weirder, the South American country seems to be closing in on North Korea in the race to become a leader in propaganda, conspiracy theories, and overall ridiculousness.
Fresh off of his week-long campaign to blame western imperialist powers (namely the United States) for poisoning former president Hugo Chavez with the cancer that ultimately took his life, Chavez’s hand-picked successor, Vice President Nicolas Maduro, has now focused his attention on the Catholic Church. Specifically, Maduro has weighed in on the church’s decision to elect the former archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, as the new pontiff, saying that Chavez swayed the vote, from beyond the grave.
“We know that our commander has risen up there and is face to face with Christ,” Maduro is quoted as saying. “Something must have influenced things so that a South American pope was chosen. Some new hand arrived and got to Christ and said: It is South America’s time. That’s what I think.”
So, let me get this straight… We have God, up there in heaven, and, if you believe most Christian scriptures, Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of The Father… Does this mean that Chavez is seated at the left?
That’s a scary thought, really. Especially since Maduro is convinced that Chavez’s work (with the help of God) is not done.
“Chavez may also call a constitutional assembly in Heaven at any moment to change the Catholic church on Earth so the people, the pure people of Christ, may govern the world,” Maduro was also quoted as saying.
Sounds very Hitler-esque, no?
While all of this might be a little strange to us normal folk, most Venezuelans aren’t batting an eye. After all, Chavez, who died last week, has long been revered with quasi-religious fervor, particularly among the country’s poorest citizens, in part because of his commitment to social programs.
Maduro is riding Chavez’s coattails these days, hoping to win support in the upcoming April 14th presidential election and is no doubt doing a little ass-kissing, just in case Chavez is looking down on him. After all, if Chavez can sway God to pick the newest pope, he can undoubtedly get him elected. If that doesn’t work, however, Maduro likely has a plan that involves intimidation and election fraud.
Then again, maybe that’s God’s plan after all.
It’s good to know that Chavez, a devout Catholic, is now comfortable in his role as dictator in heaven, because he clearly wasn’t anxious to meet his maker. During a Mass last year, Chavez wept in public and pleaded with God to extend his life. His last words, allegedly, were, “I don’t want to die.”
Suck it up Hugo, apparently you’ve got a lot more work to do.