Chavez prays: "Do not take me yet"

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.

Chavez said he had a lot of faith that his cancer would not return after his first two operations last year – which removed a baseball sized tumour from his pelvis – but it did.

“Today, I have more faith than yesterday,” he said.