A former bus driver, trade union leader and bodyguard, Maduro had even visited Sai Baba at Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh in 2005, along with his wife Cilia Fores, to seek the spiritual guru’s blessings, according to those associated with the Sai Baba trust. Sai Baba had breathed his last in 2011.
“When he visited Prashantinilayam in 2005 along with the minister of education, Baba gave an audience to him and his family. He was then minister of foreign affairs,” the Sathya Sai Central Trust has said in a statement after he was named interim president.
Legendary Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez had named him his successor before he died on March 5 this year after battling cancer. “He (Maduro) was accompanied by his wife Cilia Flores who was then the president of the legislature. One of the founders of the 5th Republic Movement, Maduro, who has always had a photograph of Baba in his office, has had an illustrious career.”
According to the Sai trust, Venezeula enjoys a pride of place among the 113 countries in which the movement is active. The first Sai Centre was opened in Caracas in 1974, while the first workshop for EHV (education in human values) teachers was held in 1987.
The trust also runs a school and the Institute of Human Values, besides holding medical camps for the needy and public meetings in several cities of Venezuela.