No More Chiabe Time and the CNE goes green.

How do you solve an energy crisis and prevent a recall referendum at the same time? By changing your clocks, obvs.


“¿Ustedes no ven que ese poco de carajitos tienen que despertarse oscuro y van a la escuela casi con el tetero en la boca? Eso es por el huso horario que tenemos”

That was Hugo Chávez back in 2007, explaining why Venezuela needed a different time zone so that children could have a proper breakfast and start their trips to school every morning while the sun was out. You’d have thought he was about to decree schools needed to open half an hour later, but c’mon, that would be way too simple. Instead, he made the whole country turn its clocks back 30 minutes behind capitalist-pig time. Because revolutionary politics never really have to make sense.

Fast forward to 2016, and children are once again not eating breakfast or getting to school on time, if at all. But that’s because public-school meal plans have been cut and there’s no food to buy anyways…which is why kids end up getting woken up while it’s still dark outside to go wait in line instead of going to school. See? We’ve come full circle.

Today, in another super well-thought-out fit of sound policy-making, President Maduro announced by cadena that he will be reverting back to non-Chiabe time starting May 1st, in order to save energy. He also declared next Monday a holiday, which makes this coming weekend a five-day long affair for public employees. Quite convenient, when you’re trying to keep your government offices closed-off to pesky opposition citizens petitioning for recall referenda before a May 1st deadline rolls by.

At least CNE, officially the world’s least democratic institution, can now properly spin its supremely authoritarian practices in a PR-friendly way: “We regret to inform you that we will not be able to process your request for a recall referendum because we’re saving energy. We need three working days to review your documentation – but it’s Venezuela, so it takes us two weeks to string together three working days. In fact, why don’t you try again next year?”

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  1. Very good post. Roy, surely you jest, lets just hope that they move the clock in the correct direction to align it with the time zones of the rest of the world.

    • Don’t get me wrong. I am glad we will be on EST again. The half-hour difference was a pain. But, I was also thinking about all the man-hours that are going to be spent by who-knows how many people and companies changing schedules and websites… again!

        • Any computer software that is reliant on time stamping will need to be updated. It’s not nearly as trivial as setting back a clock. For example: if a computer is set up to set its time to Venezuelan standard time, and the OS developer does not update the code in time, there could be issues there.

          Have you considered the implications to banking etc? Not trivial at all.

        • All computers work using Time Zones, we had to upgrade all computers in venezuela adding a new time zone because of Chavez decision.

          Literally, a brand new Time Zone.

          Now we have to revert that.

          I don’t think it is as simple as you say my friend.

          Besides the ridicule this deservedly will bring.

          Turn a whole country into a joke is an achievement not everybody can pretend to be proud of.

  2. That reminds me of a funny story which was divulged through Wikileaks in 2010 that an entire American Airlines crew was detained in Venezuela, in 2008, for having ‘insulted’ Chavez. The cable related that a passenger who had been on American Airlines flight 903 to Caracas claimed he overheard a crew member announce the current local time as “loco Chavez time.”

    “Loco,” of course, means “crazy.”

    Meanwhile, the current Maduro government owes American Airlines over a half billion dollars in negotiable currency, not ‘loco’ Bolivars.

    • It is a true story. The pilot actually said, “Chavez local time.”

      A Chavista official on the plane heard, “Chavez loco…”. He called his boss, who called his boss and it instantly blew up into an international incident.

  3. “He [Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro] did not specify if the clocks would roll forward or backward, adding that details would be provided tomorrow. ” (From Bloomberg story on time change.)

    At what time tomorrow will he announce these details?

    I’m up early today Friday, and bored.

  4. I wrote several paragraphs about how Venezuela today provides a fascinating case study in government and in economics. If anyone is interested in reading a screen-full, let me know, and I’ll post it. Maybe conceited of me, but I just don;t know if anyone here would be interested.

    The Schlumberger story, following on the withdrawals of other foreign capital is really a proof that Venezuela needs to privatize. Dumping assets and natural resource rights off at fire-sale prices to foreign governments is not privatization. (Making off with oil dollars to overseas accounts is not privatization, either,) SIDOR is another prime example.

    All the “foreign” companies did, was invest their capital, their knowledge, their management, and hire people to produce products which they sold to those who wished to buy them. How anyone can characterize that as evil imperialist economic war is beyond me.

  5. The real challenge is finding a way of having publicly owned or controlled bodies run the same professional functional technocratic way that businesses like Schlumberger are run …….and that means separating the running of government bodies from all politically inspired practices…….from the populist delusional fracas that normally dominate modern democratic rule ………!!

  6. This is even better then the worst telenovella. I have to tune in every morning to find out what stupid shit happened last night.

    • This. Right here.

      I honestly have given up even trying to explain it to friends outside the country. Casually mentioning the news is impossible, because it’s immediately met with confused looks, saying “I understand the actual words coming out of your mouth, but it makes no sense!” … then takes me 10 minutes to explain the crazy sht we just take in stride like any other day!

  7. Of course, the real problem with this is the sheer capriciousness of the government’s actions (both times!). There were no “trial balloons” floated. It was not in response to requests or demands from any public or private sector. There was no public discussion. Industry was not consulted. Nothing! The decision is simply announced. And, it is even possible that there might be sound reasons for it, but we will never know, because we never got a chance to discuss it.

  8. Going back to EST would be (if it happens) the first good thing to come out of this gummint ever. I don’t see a reason to gripe here.

  9. When Chavez made that time change in the manner he did…did he really think he was doing good? Or was it just a show that he could do whatever he wanted? Or maybe he just felt like it and did it because, why not?

    Whole thing is so bizarre.

  10. It’s obvious the clock will go forward 30 minutes, back to GMT -4 like it was before Hector Navarro told the Galáctico Dolby 3D 4K Comandante to change the time zone. By the way, the 2007 change had nothing to do with energy saving. And we’ll only have VST (standard), not VDT (daylight). People will turn their lamps on 30 minutes later than they used to, when they get home at night. There’s the energy saving.

    If anything, Maduro does the right thing for the first time in his life, but he does it too late (no pun intended).

  11. So another idiotic narcissist policy crumbles into dust.

    The endemic, shiny, leftista, colonoscopic, interdimentional and etcetera commander president minimal just turned inside his coffin enough times to power Caracas for the next months until the next elections.


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