From the always superb Caracas Chronicles:
As he customarily does, Chávez turned a religious service into a revival session-cum-political rally-cum-touchingly televised cinematic cliffhanger. He wept, prayed for his life to be spared, and movingly thanked his family for their support.
I don’t want to be too cynical about this, and I am willing to forgive the uncomfortable use of a religious service for … something else. To me, the most noteworthy aspect of this is the shift in tone.
I’ve noted in the past that chavismo without Chávez does not have a promising future — but that may not be the best news for presidential candidate Henrique Capriles.
Capriles has been tied with Chávez in polls in advance of October’s presidential election, although the latest poll from Caracas-based Datanalysis, released on March 29, shows Chávez with a 44.7% to 31.4% lead over Capriles.
Nonetheless, there remains a chance that Chávez’s death or incapacity could trigger any number of events that could supersede the election, including a coup by Chávez’s ruling Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela or a coup by Chávez opponents.