I've been wearing the same t-shirt for a couple of weeks now. I decided to wear it to remind me to pray for Hugo Chavez whilst he underwent his cancer treatment in Cuba. It sounds a bit weird, but hear me out.
I was given the T-shirt by a Venezuelan student who stayed with us for a couple of days a few years ago. He was on a tour of British Universities to talk about changes to the Venezelan education system since the election of Hugo Chavez in 1999.
Basically, under the Chavez administration, kids from the poorest parts of the country were finally were able to get an education in what was previously one of the most exspensive and elitist HE sectors in the world.
The acknowledged revolution in education and healthcare has lifted more people out poverty than in any other comparable country in the world. It is no wonder that the people of Venezuela resisted the 2002 US backed military coup in their millions, and continue to vote for Chavez in sucessive democratic elections.
Last week, the people came out in their hundreds of thousand on the day Chavez was supposed to by inaugurated as president shouting: 'Hugo Chavez is present! We are all Hugo Chavez'!
In the Christian tradition, it is important to pray for people's health. Perhaps even more so, when the health of that person could make such a difference to the welfare of millions of people. We wish him and the people of Venezuela a healthy future - free from the cancer of the body, and of neo-colonialism!