[Ed. – Not making this up.]
A party member introduced the prayer on the podium of the party congress on Monday, imploring Chávez for protection from the evils of capitalism.
“Our Chávez who art in heaven, the earth, the sea and in us delegates,” red-shirted delegate María Estrella Uribe read in front of a vast image of the former president.
“Lead us not into the temptation of capitalism, deliver us from the evil of the oligarchy, like the crime of contraband, because ours is the homeland, the peace and life – forever and ever. Amen. Viva Chávez!” she exclaimed to applause. …
The prayer symbolises the spiritual connection “Chávistas” feel with the former soldier who governed Venezuela for 14 years before dying of cancer in March 2013.
The opposition condemned such adulation as a dangerous personality cult and the church expressed its disapproval. …
The current president, Nicolás Maduro, who calls himself Chávez’s spiritual son, said on Thursday evening that the church was seeking to undermine the late leader. “They couldn’t get rid of Chávez while he was alive so now they want to persecute the people’s spiritual love for him,” said Maduro, who calls himself Catholic but also draws inspiration from the late Indian spiritual guru Sai Baba.
“A new inquisition has emerged to massacre this humble woman,” he said in reference to the Chávista delegate.