Venezuelan presidential candidate and Hugo Chavez's No. 1 fan, Nicholas Maduro, believes he had a conversation with the deceased socialist dictator after he appeared to him in the form of a "tiny little bird". In a televised address to the public, the bus driver turned de facto leader of Venezuela after Hugo Chavez's death on March 5 said he is convinced the flying animal was in fact Chavez and that they engaged in a heartfelt conversation.
It's Dr. Doolittle meets The Sixth Sense in this political love story.
Apparently, Maduro was with Chavez's brothers in a small Catholic church when suddenly a bird flew in through a window and began "communicating with whistling sounds." After the bird "looked at [him] weird," Maduro claims that Chavez "gave me his blessing and said 'This is the day our battle begins. Be victorious. That's how a felt it from my soul." This exchange apparently happened in the form of "whistles."
Venezuelan politics seem to be plagued by magic realism. This isn't the first time Maduro — who is running for president against the opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonsky — has mentioned the beyond during his campaign. Maduro, who lacks the charisma and larger-that-life image of the controversial 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."
Just a few weeks ago, Maduro publically stated that he believed Hugo Chavez's spirit "must have influenced from the sky so that a South American pope could be chosen," referring to Pope Francis's election into the papacy last month. Maduro has also openly blamed the CIA for "inoculating Chavez with the cancer that killed him".
Tension is palpable in the Venezuela capital of Caracas as presidential elections are set to take place April 14. Will Chavez's successor take the coveted position? Or will the dysfunctional oil-rich nation ruled by Chavez for 14 years take a step in a different direction and elect Henrique Capriles Radonski?
Just like "little bird Chavez," it's up in the air.