Hugo Chavez may be dead, but his vice president and current de facto leader of Venezuela, Nicholas Maduro, believes his deceased boss is still at work.
Right after Argentinian Jorge Mario Bergoglio was announced as the new pope, Maduro hosted a televised address stating that Chavez, "who is there in front of Christ ... must have influenced" from the sky so that a "South American pope could be chosen."
Maduro continued by saying that Chavez must have convened a constituent wherever he is and is trying to change the church and the world from the beyond. Someone's been having way too much fun with the Ouija board.
This is not a new gimmick, I mean, strategy for Maduro — who is currently running for president against the opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonsky. Maduro, who lacks the charisma and larger-that-life image of the controversial Hugo Chavez, has been using the legacy of the dead dictator as his biggest weapon during his campaign. In fact, his campaign slogan is "Long Live Chavez, Forever."
"It is in his own interest to immortalize Chavez," Venezuelan reporter and economist Ana Julia Jatar told Heavy.com. "The more he is able to plug Chavez into his rhetoric the greater chance he has to win the election."
Jatar continued, "He is not offering a campaign of his own but rather the continuation of Chavez."
With Hugo Chavez running a highly autocratic government for 14 years, few other leaders of his "Bolivarian Revolution" have been able to break free from Chavez's shadow. Maduro's constant reference to his fallen leader is an indicator of Chavez's overpowering political image.