In Venezuela one of the most beloved cult figures is The Cult of Maria Lionza.
“The legend has it that Maria Lionza was an indigenous princess that was abducted by an anaconda snake, the master of the lagoon. God punished the crawler by making it so swollen that its burst apart at the seams. The blowup caused a great flooding that killed off the entire tribe the princess belonged to. The girl became the master of the lagoon, the rivers, the jungle and the wild animals.”
Recently the famous statue of Maria Lionza toppled over backwards at the waist. Despite warnings by experts that the statue was in grave danger, it is being spun by anti-Chavez media as being an omen of the left-wing President’s downfall in the upcoming August recall referendum.
“”It’s all coming to an end. The abuses against us and this country are ending. We are going to see liberty, truth,” said Tamara Escalona, a faith healer who also happens to be a critic of President Hugo Chavez. The fact that the statue fell backward to face the sky means Maria Lionza is asking God for assistance to resolve the crisis, she said.” – Fabiola Sanchez (AP)
Hugo “Bush is an asshole” Chavez, who is popular among the poor in Venezuela, is hated by the elites who own the majority of media in the country and feed US news sources on Venezuelan issues. This has been eaten up by the Bush team as they push for a leader more in line with their thinking (especially about their oil).
“The Bush administration has been pushing for “regime change” in Venezuela for years now, painting a false and exaggerated picture of the reality there…Reporting on Venezuela relies overwhelmingly on opposition sources, many of them about as reliable as Ahmed Chalabi. Although there are any number of scholars and academics — both Venezuelan and international — who could offer coherent arguments on the other side, their arguments almost never appear. For balance, we usually get at most a poor person on the street describing why he likes Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, or a sound bite from Chavez himself denouncing “imperialist intervention.”" – Mark Weisbrot (CEPR)
In the end it looks like the faith of the people of Venezuela has been manipulated to prove that the recall referendum is divinely annointed and not merely the work of structural damage and vandals.