Curses and Blessings in the Venezuelan Presidential Campaign

First, acting president Maduro received a blessing:

According to various media and news agencies, from Chavez’s childhood home in Barinas, west side of Venezuela, Maduro explained, "I felt him there, like he was giving us his blessing, saying: ‘Today the battle starts. Go to the victory. You have our blessings.’ That is how I felt it in my soul."

Maduro shared that he went to pray at a chapel alone and there a little bird appeared to him, and “started communicating” via whistling.

"Suddenly a bird entered, very small, and turned three times up here," he said, pointing to his head while imitating the flutter.

“[The bird] stood on a wooden beam and began whistling, a nice hissing," he said imitating the sound. "Then I stared at him and whistled back… The bird looked strange at me, right? He whistled for a little while, flew around and left, and I felt the spirit of [Chavez]," said Maduro.

See also, CNN:  Maduro dice que Chávez se le apareció en forma de “pajarito chiquitico” y lo bendijo

Then, a curse is dispensed:

Wearing a local indigenous hat at a rally in Amazonas state, a largely jungle territory on the borders of Brazil and Colombia, Mr Maduro said: "If anyone among the people votes against Nicolas Maduro, he is voting against himself, and the curse of Maracapana is falling on him."

He was referring to a 16th Century battle when Spanish colonial fighters defeated indigenous fighters decisively.

"If the bourgeoisie win, they are going to privatise health and education, they are going to take land from the Indians, the curse of Maracapana would come on you," the candidate continued.

I could not resist the blessing/curse juxtaposition, as it is a bit amusing.

However, Maduro is actually being smart here insofar as he is clearly trying to keep connections with Chavez with the blessing talk and he is invoking the interests of the poor with his curse talk (which is really a historical allusion more than it is the threat of an actual curse).

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Andre Kenji says:

    I could not resist the blessing/curse juxtaposition, as it is a bit amusing.

    Welcome to Latin America. 😉