By James Paladino/J.paladino@latinospost.com (staff@latinospost.com) | First Posted: Jan 02, 2013 11:30 PM EST


A man walks past a mural depicting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Caracas (Photo : Reuters)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez continues to struggle for his life against a respiratory infection which struck the re-elected Comandante during pelvic cancer surgery. Specifics on Chavez's condition are sparse and the President has not spoken publicly since he began his prolonged hospital visit, but priests who follow the Cuban religion of Santeria suggest that alternative healing measures may be required, according to a Fox News Latino report.

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Santeria was bred of Afro-Caribbean descent as a hybrid between Yoruba beliefs and Roman Catholicism. BBC notes that "the religion focuses on building relationships between human beings and powerful, but mortal spirits called Orishas. An Orisha is a manifestation of Olodumare (God)."

Each New Year, higher-ups in the Santeria hierarchy announce a "Letter of the Year" filled with predictions for the upcoming twelve months. In the 2013 letter, priest Lazaro Cuesta states, "I hope, God willing, that he decides to knock on the door of a Cuban priest and that God will allow for the possibility of this individual to do something for him...Whichever house he knocks upon, I expect he will receive the help he requires." The Venezuelan administration has not responded to the Santeros' offer.

Vice President Maduro visited his colleague in the hospital just days ago and has served as his voice in Chavez's absence.

"He's totally conscious of the complexity of his post-operative state and he expressly asked us...to keep the nation informed always, always with the truth, as hard as it may be in certain circumstances," said Maduro.

Leaders in the region, including Columbian President Juan Manuel Santos have expressed concern of a tumultuous transfer of power, should Chavez succumb to his illness. 

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