Chavez and the religionsSunday, March 31st, 2013
[ by Charles Cameron — Hugo Chavez was not only a friend of the Twelfth Imam to Ahmadinejad, but a disincarnate great spirit to Spiritualists & a near-savior to many Catholics ]
A short while back in Chavez and the Second Coming? I reported on Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s fulsome tribute to the late president of Venezuela
Argentina, Hugo Chavez, of whom he said, “I have no doubt that he will return alongside Jesus Christ and the Mahdi to establish peace and justice in the world.”
Well, there’s more…
The seventh World Spiritualist Congress brought some 1,500 delegates from 24 countries to Havana, Cuba a week ago. The Voice of Russia reported:
The central personality of this mystical congress was the former president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez. “He is a great spiritualist who has disincarnated,” Enrique Alemany, president of the Spiritualist Federation of Havana, said.
Okay, that’s Shiite Islam and global spiritualism taken care of. How about Catholicism, South American style, with an intriguing mention of the recent papal election?
From yesterday’s National Post, under the title ‘I saw him as a kind of God’: In death, Hugo Chavez reaches divine status among Venezuelan followers:
Chavez’s die-hard followers considered him a living legend on a par with independence-era hero Simon Bolivar well before his March 5 death from cancer. In the mere three weeks since, however, Chavez has ascended to divine status in this deeply Catholic country as the government and Chavistas build a religious mythology around him ahead of April 14 elections to pick a new leader.
Chavez’s hand-picked successor, Nicolas Maduro, has led the way, repeatedly calling the late president “the redeemer Christ of the Americas” and describing Chavistas, including himself, as “apostles.”
Maduro went even further after Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis earlier this month. Maduro said Chavez had advised Jesus Christ in heaven that it was time for a South American pope.
That comes as Maduro’s government loops ads on state TV comparing Chavez to sainted heroes such as Bolivar and puts up countless banners around the capital emblazoned with Chavez’s image and the message “From his hands sprouts the rain of life.”
“President Chavez is in heaven,” Maduro told a March 16 rally in the poor Caracas neighborhood of Catia. “I don’t have any doubt that if any man who walked this earth did what was needed so that Christ the redeemer would give him a seat at his side, it was our redeemer liberator of the 21st century, the comandante Hugo Chavez.”
Chavistas such as Munoz have filled Venezuela with murals, posters and other artwork showing Chavez in holy poses surrounded by crosses, rosary beads and other religious symbolism.
One poster on sale in downtown Caracas depicts Chavez holding a shining gold cross in his hands beside a quote from the Book of Joshua: “Comrade, be not afraid. Neither be dismayed, for I Will be with you each instant.” The original scripture says “Lord thy God,” and not “I,” will accompany humanity each instant.
And if Ahmadinejad expected that Chavez would return with Christ at the Second Coming, it’s worth noting that Chavez was also present — at least in a crèche from Caracas last year — at Christ’s nativity.
With hat-tips to Ben Zeller, Jean-Francois Mayer and the crew at the New Religious Movements mailing list.
Chag Sameach, Christos Aneste, Happy Holidays…