Hugo Chávez Picks Pope Francis From Beyond the Grave

Venezuela's Acting President Joked that Chavez Had Pulled Some Strings in Heaven

BySantiago Wills
March 14, 2013, 2:46 PM

March 14, 2013— -- Hugo Chávez is preparing a new revolution, according to Venezuela's acting president Nicolás Maduro. This time, the recently deceased Venezuelan leader seems to be planning a takeover of the Catholic Church. Maduro joked that he will do it from heaven, and that the first stage is already under way.

"We have important news," Maduro said Wednesday during the opening ceremony of Caracas' International Book Fair. "They just elected a South American as pope for the first time in history… We know that our commander has ascended to [heaven], and that he is in front of Christ right now. He must have influenced something for a South American pope to be chosen."

While the audience cheered and laughed, Maduro continued. "A new hand arrived and Christ said, 'Well, the time for South America has come.' At any moment now [Chavez] will call for a constituent assembly in Heaven to change the Church, so that the people, the true people of Christ will govern the world."

Most global personalities responded to Wednesday's Papal Election with more conventional statements in which they congratulated the Argentine pope and wished him good luck in his new job.

But some in Argentina, with plenty of humor, followed Maduro's lead and took it as a benediction laid on the country from above.

"Everyone in Argentina remembers 'the hand of God' in the match against England in the World Cup of 1986," Argentine soccer legend Diego Armando Maradona wrote in a letter to the Roman newspaper Il Messagero, referring to his famous goal in the quarterfinal. "Now, in my country, 'the hand of God' has brought us an Argentinian pope."

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events