Human Rights,  Latin America

The literal deification of Hugo Chavez

Things haven’t exactly gone swimmingly for Venezuela since the death of President Hugo Chavez last year– not that they were going well before he died.

The Economist reports:

Venezuela is in trouble. Such trouble, in fact, that the central bank (BCV) has not published GDP figures since the beginning of the year and is two months behind with inflation figures. Leaks from inside the BCV suggest annual inflation is now well over 60% and that GDP fell by almost 5% in the first half of 2014. Shortages of food, medicines and other basic goods, including spare parts and tyres for vehicles, have reached critical levels. Representatives of private health clinics say more than half have suspended elective surgery for lack of crucial supplies and parts for medical equipment. The government plans to address shortages by fingerprinting customers to prevent them from buying extra goods to sell on the black market.

And Freedom House notes:

With its public support slipping, the government has resorted to repression to silence criticism, rather than adopting policies that would assuage the underlying social, economic, and political tensions. The result has been chaos and instability.

Most notably the government of Nicholas Maduro continues to imprison opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, who was arrested in February on absurd charges of murder and conspiracy.

His trial has been postponed at least three times, most recently on August 13. On July 29, López’s lawyer submitted a formal complaint to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane, and Degrading Treatment, highlighting the mistreatment of his client, who is being held in solitary confinement and has been denied visitors and meetings with his attorney.

While López’s case has received media attention, his story is not unique. To date, 76 individuals remain imprisoned for political reasons, mostly without proper charges; many have been victims of torture.

So I suppose it’s not entirely surprising that the regime’s supporters have resorted to praying. What is rather startling is whom they are praying to. The following prayer was recited at the ruling party convention on Monday.

Chávez nuestro que estás en el cielo, en la tierra, en el mar y en nosotros, los y las delegadas
Santificado sea tu nombre
Venga a nosotros tu legado para llevarlo a los pueblos de aquí y de allá
Danos hoy tu luz para que nos guíe cada día
No nos dejes caer en la tentación del capitalismo
Mas líbranos de la maldad y de la oligarquía
Porque de nosotros y nosotras es la patria, la paz y la vida
Por los siglos de los siglos, Amén
¡Viva Chávez!

In English:

Our Chávez who art in heaven, on Earth, in the sea and inside us, the delegates
Hallowed be thy name
Thy legacy come, so we can carry it to people from here and there
Give us this day your light, to guide us every day
Lead us not into the temptation of capitalism
But deliver us from evil and from oligarchs
Because ours is the homeland, the peace and the life
Forever and ever, Amen
Long live Chavez!

That’s right. Basically they replaced the Lord’s Prayer with Chavez’s Prayer.

Don’t believe it? See for yourself:

What the Comandante can do from heaven that he couldn’t achieve while on earth remains to be seen.