Venezuela Police State Takes Another Step Toward Totalitariansim
by Lina Bryce
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in an effort to solve the nation’s energy crisis, recently announced that he would sign a law shortening the workweek for state workers for 60 days, even going as far as urging women to limit their use of hairdryers to only “special occasions.”
According to The Associated Press, President Maduro gave workers a full week off in March in an effort to save electricity, as well as cutting the hours of more than 100 shopping centers across the country in the previous month. Now, he is recommending that women reduce hairdryer use to only “special occasions”.
“I always think a woman looks better when she just runs her fingers through her hair and lets it dry naturally. It’s just an idea I have,” Maduro added.
The socialist administration of Venezuela blames the crises on the drought caused by El Niño and acts of sabotage by its opponents. However, experts say rationing could have been prevented by investment in maintenance and in the construction of thermoelectric plants. Nearly 70 percent of Venezuela’s electricity comes from a hydroelectric plant at the Guri Dam, which holds back the Caroni River in the south-eastern state of Bolivar.
The President’s emergency measures drew some harsh criticism from those who have predicted an acute recession saying that employees would just go home and turn on the lights and air conditioning, negating any benefit to conservation the President may have intended.
A Caracas resident tells Al Jazeera: “If the President thinks that not blowdrying our hair is going to help, then the problem is far worse than we thought.”
President Maduro also made suggestions for Venezuelans to make small changes to their routines, including embracing the tropical heat and hanging clothes out to dry instead of using tumble dryers.
Maria Cornia Machado, a political opponent, disagrees with the President’s ideas.
“Just because Maduro doesn’t work Monday to Friday, Saturday or Sunday, doesn’t mean we Venezuelans are like that,” she stated.
“What we want is to keep working, and for you, Maduro, to go.”
Under Venezuela’s economic policy of withholding U.S. dollars from importers with price controls, there are other shortages in Venezuela of products that are regulated, such as milk, meat, chicken, coffee, rice, oil, flour, butter prices, as well as some basic necessities such as toilet paper, personal hygiene products, and medicine.
Venezuelans live in a nation where searching for food is the norm, as a result of these shortages, waiting on lines for hours and sometimes settle without having the products they want. All this, with Venezuelan still being one of top oil producers in the world.