Chavez's Protege: Vote for Me or You Will be Cursed

Alicia Powe

4/10/2013 12:45:00 PM - Alicia Powe
Venezuela President Hugo Chavez's handpicked successor has a new platform in his election campaign: Vote for me or you will be cursed.

"If anyone among the people votes against Nicolas Maduro he is voting against himself and the curse of Macarapana is falling on him," warned Maduro Saturday at a rally in Amazonas state, a largely jungle territory on the borders of Brazil and Colombia.

Macarapana refers to a 16th century battle when Spanish-Columbia fighters massacred local Indian forces. He compared opposition leader Henrique Capriles’ campaign to enslaving Spanish occupiers. "If the bourgeoisie win, they are going to privatize health and education. They are going to take land from the Indians, the curse of Macarapana would come on you," he said.

Calling himself the "son" of Chavez, Maduro has been using the legacy of the dead dictator as his biggest campaign tool. In fact, his campaign slogan is ‘Long Live Chavez, Forever.’”

The deceased socialist dictator has been declared ‘Christ of the Americas’ in Venezuela. His former ministers repeatedly refer to him as the president who died for the poor like Jesus Christ as thousands of Venezuelans have made shrines named Saint Hugo Chavez.

Maduro has said at public rallies that Chavez appeared before him in the form of a "tiny little bird" while he was kneeling in a chapel praying to God for wisdom and faith and that they engaged in a heartfelt conversation.

“He flew to me and whistled to me. And I whistled back. And then he whistled back and flew away. I feel like I was receiving the blessing of that giant that was our commander of all battles,” In a televised address to the public.

Capriles , vowing to install an administration of free market economics if elected, fired back at Maduro calling him a cheap imitation of Chavez and said, "I believe he ate a little bird, because that's what he's got inside his head."

"Anyone who threatens the people, who tells the people a curse can fall on them, has no right to govern this country,” he said. “I tell you here, all Venezuelans, the real curse is that little group that we are going to get rid of on April 14."

Venezuela’s Catholic Church hierarchy has denounced the constant attempts to equate Chavez with Jesus Christ as “sacrilegious manipulation.”

Maduro, a former bus driver and union leader who rose to become Chavez's foreign minister and then vice president, has more than a 10-point lead in most polls, although Capriles expects sympathy for Chavez’s death to wear off and predicts a last-minute opposition surge before Venezuelans head to the polls Sunday.