Hugo Chávez sets new time zone for Venezuela

Monday, December 10, 2007

Hugo Chávez in 2003.
Image: Agência Brasil.
Global time zones

Hugo Chávez, the President of Venezuela has set a new time zone for his country. The new time zone, which is UTC-4:30, is half an hour earlier than the old time. This time zone is unique and does not match any of those used by Venzuela's neighbors.

This morning, Venezuelans began the work week for the first time under the new time zone, which Chávez announced for the first time in a decree on November 27. According to Chávez, the new time zone would allow school children to wake up with the sun and it would prevent many poor citizens from having to commute before dawn.

"These children have to get up at five in the morning... they arrive at school dead tired," said Chávez. "And why? Because of our time." He added, "This affects even the biological functioning of the body. It's scientifically proven."

Hector Navarro, the Minister of Science and Technology, agreed that health and productivity would improve as a result. "The human brain is conditioned by the light of the sun," he said.

"The only thing this will do is inject yet more chaos into our lives," said John Marulanda, a young executive, to The Daily Telegraph. "This president believes in change for change's sake."

The president of Venezuela's airline association and the head of Copa Airlines in Venezuela, Roberto Pulido, told Bloomberg: "The time change is going to affect many flights, and lots of airlines still haven't changed their timetables. This is an additional cost, because we've had to update all of our reservation systems."

"I don't really understand the point, but nothing with this president surprises me," said Dr. Rafael Sucre to Bloomberg as he exited a subway during his morning commute. "It's a political whim," thought Yanitza Lopez, who works as an accountant for a cosmetics company in Caracas. "It's not going to make any difference for any kids."


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