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?”

Emiliana Duarte

Emi is a cook, a lover of animals, politics, expletives, and Venezuela. She is the co-founder of Caracas Chronicles LLC and Managing Editor if the site until December 2017.