Priests: Santeria is Rx to Heal Hugo Chavez

Santeria is pretty awesome. Santeria and other West Africa Diasporic Religions, also called ATR (African Traditional Religion), are fluid, adaptable, and from my perspective, effective, so Hugo Chavez might do well to heed the words of the Cuban babalawo (priests) who in their annual New Year “Letter of the Year” recommended that the Venezuelan President seek them out. Lazaro Cuesta, one of the babalawo said their priests are willing:

Whichever house he knocks upon, I expect he will receive the help he requires.

From the perspective of Santeria, Cuesta was referring not only to physical domiciles of the priests, but also to the casas (houses or worship) of the orisha, the Afro-Cuban gods, and the various lineages within each orisha’s worship, with their own initiated priest.

Chavez is currently in Cuba recovering from surgery for cancer; the type of cancer has not been reported. The babalawo will not perform a healing ritual for Chavez unless they are asked. Technically, someone aside from Chavez could ask for his healing, in the same way that Masses can be offered for someone by another.

Eleggua is the road opener and the messenger of the gods, and is syncreticized with Jesus, especially in the aspect of  the Infant of Atocha, and thus his altars often are decorated with toys and games, as well as the traditional rum and cigars. San Lazaro/St. Lazarus represents Babalú-Ayé, the orisha in charge of health and disease, especially epidemics, cancer, HIV/AIDS.

They Eat Their Own! Republican Congressman Sez “No Health Care for Tumor Patients”

Hodgkin's lymphoma cytology

Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha

Idiot Republican and California representative David Dreier wants to deny healthcare to people diagnosed with massive tumors:

I don’t that think someone who is diagnosed with a massive tumor should the next day be able to have millions and millions and millions of dollars in health care provided.

Wait! I thought, according to Sarah Palin, that it was the Democrats who were all about the death panels, and deciding who would be denied insurance.

While we’re on the subject of massive tumors, let’s take a look at famous Republicans who have had tumors and cancer. And received millions and millions and millions of dollars in health care.

Lee Atwater, former chairman of the National Republican Party who came to power after managing George Bush the Elder’s 1988 campaign, died from a brain tumor at age 37.

Former CIA chief William Casey died in 1987. Hours before he was scheduled to speak in the Iran-Contra hearing, he was rendered incapable of speech, less than 24 hours after he was named in the trials as assisting in the transfer of arms to Nicaraguan rebels. He had previously undergone treatment for prostate cancer. The official cause of death was

aspiration pneumonia as a result of a central nervous system lymphoma… A central nervous system lymphoma is a rare tumor of the brain and central nervous system, evidently the brain tumor for which Mr. Casey had surgery late last year at Georgetown Hospital in Washington.

Before his appointment to the CIA, Casey had been chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission and an Under Secretary of State. He retired from the CIA that February, just months before his death.

Senator Arlen Specter was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 1993. The tumor was removed, but reoccurred in 1996. He also has undergone treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, diagnosed in 2005, which returned in 2008. In 2009 he switched from Republican to Democrat. He retired from the Senate in 2011. Senators can purchase insurance from the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. According to

Like other large employers, the government pays a large share of the cost of coverage. On average, the government pays 72 percent of the premiums for its workers, up to a maximum of 75 percent depending on the policy chosen. For example, the popular Blue Cross and Blue Shield standard fee-for-service family plan carries a total premium of $1,120.47 per month, of which the beneficiary pays $356.59.

As a CIA employee Casey could also have opted for the FEHBP.

Rep. Dreier says that instead of being allowed health care from insurance companies, those with pre-existing conditions should go into the high risk pool. However:

Just 1,588 Californians and about 13,000 people nationwide have signed up for the program [Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan] that provides subsidized insurance for people with ongoing medical conditions…the six-month waiting period, plus premium costs, make the plan prohibitive for many people.

There are alternatives. And they are popular. According to Ezra’s Klein’s analysis of a poll from Reuters/Ipsos:

Eighty percent of Republicans favor “creating an insurance pool where small businesses and uninsured have access to insurance exchanges to take advantage of large group pricing benefits.” That’s backed by 75 percent of independents.

Maybe instead of getting sandy-pantied about the ACA, maybe Dreier et al should look to increasing the budget for the National Institute of Health’s grants into medical research so massive tumors won’t encroach on their quality of life.

images: Wikimedia Commons