Chavez seeks cancer aid from deities

2011-08-05 11:01
Caracas - President Hugo Chavez told a gathering of soldiers on Thursday that he's seeking divine support from the indigenous deities and spirits of Venezuela's central plains to help him survive cancer.

"Cancer? What is that for me? I have faith in the spirits of the plains that I'll prevail. I will live and we will win the elections next year," Chavez told hundreds of troops massed in formation at Fort Tiuna, Venezuela's largest military installation.

Chavez often describes himself as a devout Roman Catholic, although his religious beliefs are eclectic. The former paratroop commander says his unorthodox religious doctrines are rooted in his upbringing in Los Llanos, Venezuela's sun-baked plains region.

Many people in the region adhere to numerous folk religions, such as a sect that venerates the Indian goddess Maria Lionza.

The Roman Catholic Church considers the religions and their respective rituals idolatrous. But the clergy have come to tolerate them, partly because they have flourished and cut across racial groups and class lines.

Many adherents suffering from illnesses pray to the folk deities or offer them animal sacrifices in return for improved health or cures.

Speaking from the balcony of the presidential palace during an event to celebrate his birthday last week, Chavez thanked spiritual idols from Los Llanos and singled out Maria Lionza, whose image appeared before a young Indian alongside a river centuries ago.

Chavez and his doctors are considering whether he should return to Cuba for his second phase of chemotherapy or receive the treatment in Venezuela.

The president spent a week in Cuba last month for his first round of chemotherapy.

Read more on:    hugo chavez  |  venezuela

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Prince George the green prince?

Prince Charles hopes his grandson's love of the outdoors will become a passion for the environment.



One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa
China's air pollution at doomsday levels
Keep food fresher for longer
Hurricanes, earthquakes and floods – What climate change really means for us

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly


The full moon energy can be quite intense today as your emotions fight against reason. It is important to ground your ideas more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.