Indigenous Venezuelans hold ritual for Chavez
Caracas, Feb 24 : Supernatural forces have been evoked in Venezuelan politics, as representatives of the country's indigenous people held a ritual for ailing president Hugo Chavez, state media reported.
The ritual, held in Caracas, involved lighting a "sacred fire", mass dancing and a prayer for presidential health, RIA Novosti reported citing Venezuelan state news agency AVN.
The fire was intended to collect "bad energies" which were then to be disposed of by scattering the ashes over the river, said one of ritual's co-organisers, an indigenous "wise woman" identified as Betania.
Chavez, 58, continues his battle with cancer. He underwent extensive treatment, including four operations, over the past two years, and was unable to attend his own presidential inauguration in January.
The president reportedly struggles with respiratory problems that render him unable to speak, though he spent five hours Friday issuing written instructions, media reported.
Jose Miguel Insulza, secretary general of the Organization of American States, said Chavez may resign next week.
Though Chavez is a Catholic, he was the target of indigenous American rituals before.
Shamans prayed for him in Ecuador in January, and another ceremony was held in Caracas, attended by Guatemalan Nobel Peace Prize laureate Rigoberta Menchu, who participated in her self-described capacity of a "Mayan spiritual guide", according to Venezuelan daily Ultimas Noticias.