In an emotionally charged prayer during a pre-Easter Mass, cancer-stricken Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez pleaded with Jesus to spare his life since he has more to do for the country. The 57-year-old socialist leader attended mass on Thursday after returning from his latest session of cancer treatment in Cuba.
Chavez has undergone three surgeries in less than a year and two sessions of radiation treatments. However, details of Chavez's ailment as well as the type of cancer he is suffering from were not known, according to a Reuters report. He said the surgery was successful and that he was hoping to recover to contest the upcoming election in October to win a new six-year term.
Speaking to the Catholic service in his home state of Barinas, the Venezuelan leader wept and prayed to Jesus in a voice that kept breaking.
Never forget that we are the children of giants... I could not avoid some tears, Chavez said, to an audience including his parents and relatives. 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, Chavez added, standing below an image of Jesus with the Crucifix.
However, Chavez restored his composure to joke to his brother Adan that not many people would be watching his televised speech during the Easter holiday.
Chavez termed his struggle with cancer a hurricane adding that Who said the path of revolution would be easy?
Capriles, Chavez's political rival for the presidential race had recently said that Christ was neither socialist nor capitalist, referring to the ruling government's rhetoric that Jesus must have been a fellow leftist radical.
Amid speculations about Chavez's ability to campaign due to his health, Venezuelan and Brazilian journalists reported that Chavez will soon seek treatment in Sao Paulo, even though the Venezuelan government statement while announcing his Brazil visit failed to mention that it was for treatment.
In the press release posted on the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry site, Chavez mentioned he had talked with former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and said he was planning to visit Brazil soon to meet him.
Venezuelan Defense Minister Henry Rangel Silva dismissed reports about Chavez's health getting worse. He is in very good health, he said. Those rumors are part of a campaign to wear down the government and its achievements.
Meanwhile, Chavez, known for his anti-US stance, accused the Obama administration of provoking violence in Syria in a bid to topple President Bashar al-Assad's regime, the Associated Press reported.
Chavez said Assad had assured him over a phone that his country was improving and that the violence would end soon. He told me there have been more than 2,000 soldier martyrs and a larger number of innocent people who have died as a result of the terrorist plan to remove him from power, Chavez was quoted as saying in a phone call broadcast live on Venezuela's state television, Friday.
Bashar told me that the political plans continue forward and that the security situation is improving, and he hopes and he's sure - and let's hope it's the case - that with less bloodshed in the coming days, soon that brother Arab nation will be totally under control and will return to normality, Chavez said.
The pressure by the Yankee empire and its allies continues, trying to use arms to topple President Bashar Assad, using terrorism, Chavez said.