- (Photo: Reuters/Estudios Revolucion/Handout)
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who was diagnosed with cancer last June, has said in a recent broadcast that he believes he has made a pact with Jesus Christ and that he will heal him of his condition.
While the specific type of cancer Chavez has is unknown, the South American leader has been receiving radiation therapy in Cuba, Havana, and made it clear he is relying on Jesus to protect him during the process.
"It's like a pact with Christ, who didn't die, he rose again. He certainly will intervene to make this treatment I am rigorously following a supreme success... and so I can continue redoubling my effort looking toward the future," Chavez expressed in a 15-minute recording, IOL News reported.
"For those who feed rumors and have bad intentions toward me, I forgive them, but I have great faith in this hard work we are doing against the disease that ambushed me last year and I have great faith in Christ... to continue living more and more each day," Chavez continued as he held a crucifix.
Earlier in April, the Venezuelan president shared in a pre-Easter message with the public that "life has been a hurricane," but that "today I have more faith than yesterday." In an emotional plea in which he openly wept in front of state TV cameras, Chavez prayed and directly asked Jesus to let him live.
"Give me your crown, Jesus. Give me your cross, your thorns so that I may bleed. But give me life, because I have more to do for this country and these people. Do not take me yet," Chávez expressed, standing below a statue of Jesus on the cross.
Chávez, who has served in office since 1999, is facing re-election in October as he hopes to win another term in office. Although critics doubt his expressions of faith are genuine, there are some in Venezuela who do believe the president is genuine in his Christianity, or that he has worked for the good of the people. A letter from retired Bishop Eduardo Herrera Riera of Carora, who is suffering from terminal cancer, was made public last week, and criticized Chávez for the way he has handled the country and a number of issues.
"Moreover, there is another evil, Mr. President, which you have brought upon the country: Your inexplicable preaching of hatred and violence that has brought to all the cities of our country a painful river of blood that flows daily through our streets," the letter states.
"Unfortunately, you have been very weak and negligent in confronting this most serious of problems. If you don't step up to solve this terrible evil with decisiveness and courage, God will hold you accountable for your negligence," the letter continues.