Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was accused of rigging plenty of elections in his day, but his successor thinks he might have also decided one very important vote from beyond the grave. According to Acting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, the recently deceased Chavez must have bent Jesus's ear up in heaven yesterday and told him to pick a South American to lead the Catholic Church.
"We know that our commander ascended to the heights and is face-to-face with Christ ... Something influenced the choice of a South American pope, someone new arrived at Christ’s side and said to him: ‘Well, it seems to us South America’s time has come.'" Maduro is quoted as saying in a Reuters report. But if Chavez really had Jesus's attention, why didn't he ask him to pick a Venezuelan? Well, it seems Chavez really didn't like Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino of Caracas. Urosa had accused the former president of violating the constitution in 2010, to which Chavez responded, "May God forgive Urosa, I will not take him into account." And in 2008, when Urosa questioned Chavez's ploy for unlimited re-elections, Chavez was already on the line with the guy upstairs. Via the Latin American Herald Tribune:
If Christ should appear here in flesh and blood he would lash Urosa, he would throw him out of the church because he is immoral and cares nothing about ethics or his priesthood.
While Chavez's spirit was supposedly busy helping Jesus pick the new leader of the Catholic Church, Maduro had some bad news about Chavez's corporeal remains. When the Venezuelan leader died, there was talk of preserving him and displaying him forever like Lenin, Ho Chi Minh, and Mao Tse-tung. Unfortunately, that can't happen because they waited too long to make a decision and his body hasn't been properly prepared. "The decision, or really the proposal more than a decision, was made as a product of love,"Maduro is quoted as saying by the AP.
The Venezuelan government announced Chavez's death on March 5, but the decision to preserve him forever was made two days later, which is apparently too late to stop the process of decomposition. Though it's also not out of the question that Chavez may have died even before then, and before he could tell the Venezuelan government exactly what to do with his $8.5 billion gold stash. Though we're have it on good authority that he told Jesus that The Atlantic Wire writers should have it.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.