Manufacturing An Omen

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  June 9, 2004 — 3 Comments

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.

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • Anonymous

    Has it occurred that perhaps, after a record of about 100 million dead at the hands of Communist dictators over the past 80 years or so, we might be right to be concerned at another apparently popping up? Chavez has hardly been acting heroically, or democratically, and seems to be of the “one man, one vote, one time” school. I’m not saying we should intervene in Venezuela; I am saying it’s not as one-sided an issue as you presented it.

  • Jason

    Well, I would hardly start calling Chavez a dictator, despite the accusations of the press in Venezuela he was popularly elected, he survived an illegal coup and his term isn’t up yet. This recall vote sounds very much like a partisan effort to have him removed because they simply don’t like him. I’m not saying the possibility isn’t there that he could turn against the interest of his people but I’m not going to make accusations either way when I don’t live in the region. These posts are meant to highlight the fact that religion is a big factor in these issues and is being used as political football.

  • Anonymous

    I am a Venezuelan and i?m not polititian or part of the past elites that ruled the country. Neither am i part of the elite that it?s ruling along with Chavez. I?m just a middle class Venezuelan who it?s living restrictions and fear to talk, or fear about whats going to happend with Chavez?s “Sotialism of the XXI Century Revolution”. Chavez can?t meybe formally called a dictator at the moment, but is certainly a totalitarian ruller who it?s using it?s oun peoples interest, the rigths of the poor and the excluded for his oun gain of power and to extend his anti-inperialistic revolution (who only really favors his and his goverment people persolan pocket?s. About Maria Lionza or Goddess Yara (whith me as lots of venezuelans are followers) the divition of our society that it?s promoted by chavez goverment has breacked apart her followes too, some of them think that Maria Lionza Brocke that way to sacrifice herself because of something bad, like a massacre that Chavez wanted to do against chavez oposition demonstrations or that she was warning Chavez not to turn against his country populaton. Others think that she broke because her sons are divided in two as she is now and she is claming to her people to unite again. Chavez followes say that she brocke because of the oppositions atemts so kill chavez.I?m telling this because it?s what the pe?ple it?s sayng on the sreets, oppinions are divided as our country is.Thanks,A concerned Venezuelan.