Chavez in emotional plea to Jesus for his life
This makes me think that he is not getting better and may be dead before the election next October.
In a televised speech to the Catholic service in his home state of Barinas, Chavez cried and his voice broke as he eulogised Jesus, revolutionary fighter Ernesto "Che" Guevara and South American independence hero Simon Bolivar.
"Never forget that we are the children of giants ... I could not avoid some tears," the former soldier said, his parents and other relatives looking on from the church rows.
"Give me your crown, Jesus. Give me your cross, your thorns so that I may bleed. But give me life, because I have more to do for this country and these people. Do not take me yet," Chavez added, standing below an image of Jesus with the Crucifix.
Having dominated the continent's biggest oil exporter for the last 13 years, Chavez's sickness has thrown its politics into turmoil in the run-up to the election on Oct 7.
Flying back and forth to Havana for the radiation therapy, Chavez has been forced to run a kind of "virtual" campaign via Twitter and appearances on state television, while his opposition rival Henrique Capriles tours the country.
In his speech at the Mass, Chavez soon seemed to recover his composure, joking with his brother Adan in the congregation that few people were watching because it was the Easter holiday, when Venezuelans typically hit the country's beautiful beaches.
In the last year, Chavez has had 3 operations and 2 rounds of radiation therapy. It appears to be a particularly aggressive form of cancer and the 3 operations would seem to indicate that it has spread.
If Chavez dies, there is no clear cut successor and his cult of personality would probably mean that his party would have a very difficult time reaching a consensus on a candidate to replace him.
With the opposition virtually united for the first time in decades, a fair election will probably be close even with a healthy Chavez. Currently, polls show Chavez with a double digit lead, but many are still undecided. That gap may close unless Chavez can get out on the hustings and show that he is healthy enough to govern.