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The Fracas in Caracas
Venezuela Takes Permanent Three-Day Weekend

The Venezuelan government, facing a deepening economic crisis, rampant hyperinflation, widespread shortages, and an escalating political crisis, has decided to give everyone in the country Fridays off. As Bloomberg reports:

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro has designated every Friday in the months of April and May as a non-working holiday, a bid to save electricity as a prolonged drought pushes water levels to a critical threshold at hydro-generation plants.

The country will unveil details of a 60-day plan to conserve energy Thursday, Maduro said, adding that measures would include asking large users such as shopping malls and hotels to generate their own electricity for nine hours a day. Heavy industries operating in the country will be asked to cut consumption by 20 percent, he said.

The move is intended to alleviate a worsening electricity shortage exacerbated by an prolonged El-Nino-caused drought. Tempted to sell every drop of oil they could, Venezuelan officials chose to rely almost exclusively on large hydroelectric dams to provide the country with electricity, then to neglect their maintenance and assume everything would be fine. The dams are now at dangerously low levels, rolling blackouts are looming, and an increasingly dissatisfied population will shortly have a bit more time on their hands. Besides the already bubbling social unrest that further disruption in Venezuelans’ daily life will inflame, losing one-fifth of the workweek to save electricity will do no favors to Venezuela’s economy, which is already spiraling out of control.
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  • Pait

    If Friday off is good for the economy, why not take Monday through Thursday off as well? THAT would be proof that Bolivarian socialism works!

  • PierrePendre

    There’ll be a lot of sniggering from the usual anti-planned economy types about this; no doubt they’re tweeting each other choice quotes from Hayek. First, second and third of all, socialism does not control and is not responsible for weather/climate phenomena like El Nino. This shortage would never have happened under Hugo who had contingency plans for everything and it’s a tragedy that his experiment in egalitarian socialism, admired by liberals everywhere, should have been derailed by the inept Maduro and the CIA. What the critics leave out is that the extra time off will give workers more time to spend with their families and on the hobbies and to expand their education which was the aim of France’s 35-work week. Less electricity consumption and industrial activity is also good for the environment. Venezuela could quickly find itself ahead of the curve in meeting the requirements of the Paris climate agreement that President Obama sagaciously pioneered. American conservatives can sneer all they want; under President Sanders, the United States will soon follow where Venezuela led and everyone will be better off for it.

    • Thom Burnett

      Is there any level of failure that you will admit is a failure? Venezuela has gotten poorer and poorer on the Chavez and Maduro socialism. The Venezuelan economy is probably no more that 30% socialist and that’s impoverishing poor people visibly. When does an honest person admit that this is worse than the messy and imperfect free markets?

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