In an extraordinary Good Thursday Mass yesterday in his home state of Barinas, Hugo Chávez broke down and openly asked God to spare his life.
As he customarily does, Chávez turned a religious service into a revival session-cum-political rally-cum-touchingly televised cinematic cliffhanger. He wept, prayed for his life to be spared, and movingly thanked his family for their support.
I don’t want to be too cynical about this, and I am willing to forgive the uncomfortable use of a religious service for … something else. To me, the most noteworthy aspect of this is the shift in tone.
If we measure the progression of Chávez’s disease by the man’s bravado, then his cancer must be advancing, a paso de vencedores. His tumor has obviously spread, but we don’t know where. The only thing we can say is that it seems to have affected his ego.
The blend of humility and fear we saw yesterday can’t be good news for the President’s followers.