Nicolas Maduro’s election campaign was rich in magical realism, designed to bedazzle voters.

Banking on sympathy votes after Hugo Chavez died of cancer last month, and confident he would don his mentor’s socialist revolutionary mantle, Maduro conjured visions that blurred fantasy and fact, evoking the genre that Latin American literary giants Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Jorge Luis Borges had popularized.

But many Venezuelans were less impressed by his flights of fantasy than they were frustrated by a lack of initiatives to address myriad crises ‑ including food shortages, power blackouts, rampant crime and inflation. After Sunday’s election, which delivered the narrowest electoral victory in Venezuela in 50 years, Maduro is under intense pressure to drop the magical and focus on the realism that is wearing thin the patience of his people and threatening the stability of the OPEC nation.

The campaign planks of the former bus driver, union organizer and foreign minister capitalized on Chavez with a series of tales.

Chapter 1: Maduro said Chavez may have had a hand in Christ’s decision to anoint Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina as the new pope. “Something influenced the choice of a South American pope,” Maduro said, “someone new arrived at Christ’s side and said to him: ‘Well, it seems to us South America’s time has come.’”)