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Venezuela faces energy crisis and introduces two-day week for public employees

Due to the worst drought in 40 years, Venezuela is facing energy shortages. The government has announced the public sector staff will work only two days a week.

Venezuela’s public sector staff will work only on Monday and Tuesday as the country faces an energy crisis. The government of Caracas is implementing such measures in order to deal with electricity shortages.

 

 

Vice President Aristobulo Isturiz announced that public sector employees (about 2.8 million people) will work only two days a week until the crisis, driven by the worst drought in forty years, ends. “There will be no work in the public sector on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, except for fundamental and necessary tasks,” said Isturiz.

 


The drought caused by weather phenomenon El Niño has made the Guri hydroelectric plant in the state of Bolivar unusable. This provides 70 percent of the country’s energy. On the 6th of April, President Nicolas Maduro had already given Fridays off during April and May in order to reduce electricity consumption. Among other measures, the government ordered shopping centres to reduce their opening hours, while as of May the entire country will put the clocks forward by half an hour to reduce demand for electricity in the early evening. The energy crisis has led school closures on Fridays as well as power cuts across all regions.

 


The lack of energy has intensified the dormant economic crisis, which businesses and opposition politicians ascribe to the government’s faulty economic management. Many think that strict policies to control currency exchanges – introduced by deceased President Hugo Chavez in 2003 – have had catastrophic consequences on the country’s economy. Venezuela is Latin America’s main oil exporter and one of the world’s main producers, but its economy is being affected as oil prices have plunged in international markets.

 

Maduro presidente Venezuela
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro

 

The current situation has had inevitable consequences politically. Venezuela’s Supreme Court has ruled against the constitutional amendments voted by the Parliament in order to reduce President Maduro’s mandate from six to four years. The opposition has announced it will continue in its fight, saying it will file draft laws and referendums until the government is brought down.

Translated by

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