Ignacio Pereyra (dpa)
HAVANA TIMES — Interim president Nicolas Maduro warned that if the Venezuelans don’t vote for him in the April 14 elections, a curse will fall on them.
This caught the attention in the media, especially foreigners, but it’s nothing new in politics of that Caribbean country, where religious and mystical references are a firm part of the culture.
“If anyone of ‘the people’ votes against Nicolas Maduro, they’re voting against themselves. The curse of ‘Macarapana’ will fall on them,” said the ruling party’s candidate, who is seeking to become the successor to the late President Hugo Chavez (1999-2013), on which he also said a curse fell that ended up killing him.
Although Maduro was mistaken in mentioning it, he was referring to the Battle of Maracapana of the mid-sixteenth century, when indigenous groups were defeated by the Spanish. Beyond the erroneous reference, the question arises as to whether it will influence the electorate.
“There is no curse of Maracapana, but it’s assumed that indigenous peoples began to decline after the battle. The message is ‘if you are not with me, what will happen to us is the same thing that happened to the indigenous peoples, we will be extinguished’,” he told dpa’s Lizbety Giral Gonzalez, the host of the television program “Creencias Siglo XXI.”
“There are also superstitions. People are very religious and believe in curses. This could influence those who are doubtful about their votes,” said the journalist, who’s trained in social communication.
Political analyst Ivan Serra believes that these messages may not have the desired result, for example, among the undecided or Catholics, “where it could have a rebound effect,” he said in statements to the newspaper “El Carabobeño.”
Although elsewhere these issues produce blushes, spiritual themes abound in the election campaign, in which Maduro said that Chavez appeared to him as a little bird.
But it’s worth noting that such things go way back. Among other stories, many Venezuelans believe Chavez died from the curse of Simon Bolivar, linked to supernatural forces and Santeria.
In July 2010, Chavez led the exhumation of the remains of the “Liberator” [Simon Bolivar] to investigate the reasons for the death of the greatest hero in Venezuelan history.
Since then, in addition to Chavez, another five people died related to the opening of the tomb: Luis Tascon, a member of Parliament; William Lara, former governor of Guarico; Lina Ron, an unconditional pro-Chavez political leader; retired General Alberto Müller, the leader of the ruling party; and Clodosbaldo Russian, comptroller general.