MOSCOW, February 23 (RIA Novosti) – Supernatural forces were evoked on Friday night in Venezuelan politics, as representatives of the country’s indigenous peoples held a ritual for their ailing president Hugo Chavez.
The ritual, held in downtown Caracas, involved lighting a “sacred fire,” mass dancing and a prayer for presidential health, Venezuelan state news agency AVN reported.
The fire was intended to collect “bad energies” which were then to be disposed of by scattering the ashes over the river, said one of ritual’s co-organizers, an indigenous “wise woman” identified as Betania.
Chavez, 58, appears to need all the help he can get as he continues his battle with cancer. He underwent extensive treatment, including four operations, over the past two years, but was nevertheless unable to attend his own presidential inauguration in January.
The president reportedly struggles with respiratory problems that render him unable to speak, though he spent five hours on Friday issuing written instructions, media reported.
Still, the Secretary General of Organization of American States, Jose Miguel Insulza, said on Friday that Chavez may resign next week.
Though Chavez is a Catholic, he was the target of indigenous American rituals before: Shamans prayed for him in Ecuador in January, and another ceremony was held in Caracas on Thursday, attended by Guatemalan Nobel Peace Prize laureate Rigoberta Menchu, who participated in her self-described capacity of a “Mayan spiritual guide,” according to Venezuelan daily Ultimas Noticias.