A cancer-stricken Hugo Chavez is becoming "more Christian" as he battles a reoccurring form of the disease that could significantly stifle his chances for re-election in October.
Little is known about the condition of the 57-year-old leader, or even the type of cancer he has, but his repeated trips for cancer treatment and operations in socialist Cuba have left many in Venezuela questioning the political future of their country, despite Chavez's new found faith that has led him to claim that he indeed will be healed.
"I'm sure our Christ will do it again, continuing making the miracle," Chavez told supporters in Caracas last Tuesday before heading to Cuba for what the leader said would be the "home stretch" of his caner treatment, according to The Associated Press.
Chavez is known for his strong leftist beliefs in which secularism plays a significant role. He has been much less visible than in previous years in the Venezuelan media, but ultimately shows no sign of wanting to bow out from his political career despite his potentially fatal illness.
Instead, the leader is finding solace in Jesus Christ -- something he now shares with his country almost every time he appears on television.
"Give me your crown, Jesus. Give me your cross, your thorns so I may bleed. But give me life, because I have more to do for this country and these people," the leader said in April during an emotional pre-Easter Mass.
Chavez declared himself cancer-free last year before his illness resurfaced in June, but before the public he maintains that he is a competent leader who will overcome his tribulations come what may.
"This cancer can't cope with Chavez," the leader recently said.
Chavez, has served as the president of Venezuela since 1999 and is extremely popular among poor Venezuelans for the social welfare system he has put in place that is backed by the country's oil production. Nevertheless, he will still be competing with 39-year-old Henrique Capriles, a center-left candidate for Venezuela's United Opposition party this October. Chavez is currently ahead in the polls with a 13-percentange point lead, but many voters across the country remain undecided and the leader's illness could ultimately signal a turning point in Venezuelan and Latin American history.
Chavez remains undeterred.
"Today, I have more faith than yesterday. Life has been a hurricane … but a couple of years ago my life began to become not my own anymore," Chavez said during his pre-Easter message to his country. "Who said the path of revolution would be easy?"