After the razor-thin election results were announced, Nicolas Maduro was named Hugo Chavez's successor as president of Venezuela, defeating opposition leader Henrique Capriles. Maduro has spent the last two months carefully crafting a persona of being even more paranoid and adept with off-the-wall statements than his socialist predecessor. Here five crazy things that Maduro has said in the last two months alone:
1. Hugo Chavez appeared to him as a "very small bird"
Maduro claims that Hugo Chavez appear to him as a very small bird and said, via whistles, that "Today the battle starts. Go to the victory. You have our blessings." Yes, the new leader of Venezuela says that the dead former president appeared to him as a very small bird, communicated to him via whistles, and assured him that the Maduro campaign had the full blessing of Hugo Chavez's ghost-bird.
2. Hugo Chavez told Jesus to make Francis the pope
Upon the Catholic Church choosing a Latin American to be its leader for the first time in history, Maduro insisted there were greater powers at play up in Heaven. "We know that our commander ascended to the heights and is face-to-face with Christ. Something influenced the choice of a South American pope, someone new arrived at Christ's side and said to him: 'Well, it seems to us South America's time has come."
The new Venezuelan president then mentioned that Chavez "may also call a constitutional assembly in Heaven at any moment to change the church on Earth." How about some heavenly Chavismo?
3. We have to shoot Capriles and take him prisoner
After claiming that opposition candidate Henrique Capriles had brought in Colombian mercenaries to destabilize Venezuela, Maduro declared: "The first thing we have to do is shoot [Capriles] legally, make him resign his office, and take him prisoner." One would think that you would take him prisoner first and then shoot him, but maybe things work differently in Maduro World.
4. The U.S. assassinated Hugo Chavez with cancer
Hugo Chavez discovered he had cancer a couple of years ago and died of it two months ago. Venezuelan has opened an official investigation into the death of Chavez, accusing the United States of being behind it.
"We have the intuition that our Commander Chavez was poisoned by dark forces that wanted him out of the way," says Maduro.
Yes, what mere mortals need facts when you have Maduro's intuition?
5. Hugo Chavez. Over 7,000 times in two months
Hugo Chavez. Hugo Chavez. Hugo Chavez. Since Hugo Chavez died less than two months in the run-up to the election, Nicolas Maduro has mentioned his former master's name over 7,000 times in public. That is well over 100 times a day. Do you think he's trying to make a point?
Image credits: AP