“Chavez Nativity” creates controversy in Venezuela

CARACAS, (Reuters) – In the Bible, shepherds and wise  men paid homage to the newborn baby Jesus. In Venezuela, it  seems Hugo Chavez turned up in the manger, too.

A Nativity scene in Caracas showing the socialist president  standing before the traditional crib-in-a-manger has stirred up  a pre-Christmas controversy in the politically polarized  country.

“It has nothing to do with the real Nativity, with  religion. I don’t like it,” said passerby Arnaldo Amundaray,  tutting as he took a close look at the model.

For Chavez supporters and the Nativity’s creators, it is a  legitimate and innocent tribute to their man.
“The intention is to show off all the revolution’s  achievements because the media silence the good things  President Chavez has done,” said Maria Alejandra Mijares, a  Women’s Ministry employee who helped make the Nativity.

The lovingly constructed model, which stands in a concourse  of residential and business towers in central Caracas, has the  traditional Christian scene at its heart. But it also  politicizes the Nativity by paying tribute to some of Chavez’s  most popular policies during his 13-year rule.

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