Venezuela’s acting President Nicolas Maduro joked Wednesday that his late predecessor Hugo Chavez had a direct role in influencing the decision to name Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the Catholic Church’s first South American pope.
If Veneuzuela’s acting President Nicolas Maduro is to be believed then his predecessor Hugo Chavez has a very privileged seat in heaven. So privileged, according to Mauduro, that Chavez likely had a hand in swaying the powers-that-be to elect the Vatican’s first South American pope.
"We know that our commander has risen up there and is face to face with Christ," Maduro joked, triggering laughter at a political event little more than a week after Chavez died following a nearly two year-long battle with cancer.
Hugo Chavez (1954 - 2013)
- Video: San Cristobal, Venezuela's tinderbox
- Venezuela: Hugo Chavez’s ‘little bird’ strikes again
- Maduro: Ruling in Chavez's shadow
- Maduro and Venezuela wrestle with Chavez legacy
- Venezuela marks Chavez anniversary amid protests
- The End of Chavismo? Venezuela Protests Escalate (part 2)
- US expels Venezuela diplomats in tit-for-tat row
- 'Yankees go home,' Venezuela tells US diplomats
- Deadly post-election violence hits Venezuela
"Something must have influenced things so that a South American pope was chosen. Some new hand arrived and got to Christ and said: It is South America's time. That's what I think," Maduro continued.
"One of these days he is going to call a constitutional congress in heaven to change the church in the world, so that the people, only Christ's pure people rule in this world," he predicted.
Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was named Pope Francis after two days of voting at the Vatican on Wednesday to become the Catholic Church’s 226th pontiff. Known for his simplicity and humility, Bergoglio is also the first pope to not come from Europe.
(FRANCE 24 with wires)
Date created : 2013-03-14