Indigenous shamans hold ritual for Chavez in Caracas
CARACAS, Venezuela, Monday February 25, 2013 - Magical forces have now been evoked in Venezuela, joining the prayers and vigils of mainstream religions and an army of skilled medical professionals in the battle to return President Hugo Chavez to good health.
Representatives of the country's indigenous people held a traditional spiritual ritual for the cancer-stricken president over the weekend in Caracas, according to state media reports.
The ritual involved the lighting of a "sacred fire", mass dancing and a prayer for the ailing Chavez’s recovery, RIA Novosti reported, citing Venezuelan state news agency AVN.
The fire was designed to absorb "bad energies", which were then eliminated by scattering the ashes over the river, explained one of the ritual's co-organisers, an indigenous "wise woman" identified only as Betania.
Although the president is a Catholic, this is not the first time he has been the recipient of indigenous American healing rituals.
Last month, shamans prayed for him in Ecuador, while another ceremony was held in Caracas last week, 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.
Chavez continues his fight against cancer, having undergone extensive treatment, including four operations in Cuba, over the past two years.
The 58-year-old president is currently reported to be suffering from respiratory problems that render him unable to speak, and he was unable to attend his own presidential inauguration in January.
Chavez returned home to Venezuela last Monday and was taken to the capital’s Dr Carlos Arvelo Military Hospital where his treatment continues. He was said to have spent five hours issuing written instructions on Friday, according to media reports.
Jose Miguel Insulza, secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), has been quoted as saying that Chavez may resign next week. Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)