New electricty rationing to lower quality of life for the younger generation

December 31, 2009

Talking to young people at work, I was confronted with the reality of the impact on them of the shutdown of shopping centers and malls  at 9 PM daily, which begins tomorrow. They are all dismayed, sad, mad and surprised that their quality of life is going to deteriorate further overnight.

Given the crime rate, malls have become refuges for young people to go to bars, restaurants or simply to the movies. But with no power to shopping centers after 9 PM, you can rule out bars and movies and most restaurants may not even bother to open given the hours that Venezuelans like to eat at.

The impact on movie going will be particularly strong, as stand alone movie theaters have disappeared in the last decade, as malls installed fancy theaters with more comfortable chairs, reserved and assigned tickets and other amenities.

While some malls may install their own power generators, the process of importing and installing them may take more than a year so that it will be a while before this normalizes.

I guess this will make Caracas a more socialist city, as people will go home earlier and bar and restaurants that are housed in single units, will benefit from the new decree.

As with so many things, this translates into fewer jobs, less economic activity, but it will probably pale with the impact that the electricity savings measures will have in the steel and aluminum industries of Guayana. There, workers will be sent home with pay, so that the already large losses of the CVG (Corporación Venezolana de Guayana) will widen.

Meanwhile Chávez said we are closing the year on good footing, as the economy stagnates and there are new and further problems ahead. Not exactly a cheerful way to the end the year. He must be seeing something I am not, or he may be blind to the problems.

But to the younger generation, he is a nightmare that will not go away.

23 Responses to “New electricty rationing to lower quality of life for the younger generation”

  1. Awesome post. How long have you been blogging for? It makes me realise that I need to improve mine a bit! Restaurant Devon

  2. LD Says:

    I’m wondering if this measure really will spare energy. You have to take into account, there are each of this visitors at home, watching TV or using PCs, etc.. Add the home lightning also. It could be more actually than using a common place.

  3. Claudia Says:

    It’s not only the young who are at loss here. Any person who would like to go and enjoy a meal will be affected. Most of the top restaurants are located in malls. Having to close before 9pm as remember due to security I doubt anyone will be wanting to walk back to their cars in pitch darkness. Friends of mine have been running 2 very successful bars for about 8 years now in the San Ignacio. Everything that thye have worked very hard for is at stake. Imagine that… A decree that was written about a month ago can affect so many people economically. Who defends alll these peoples investments? What about restaurants that have just opened recently. To name one, Coco Thai Lounge in El Tolon. The owners most probably took up a credit in order to get the business up and running. Will they be able to pay back what they owe now? What about all the employees. Where are they going to get jobs to feed their families? What about security? Most of us who live in Caracas go to malls in order to minimize the risk of being robbed or kidnapped, not only for bars but for restaurants too. The thugs who will have grown in numbers as the now recent unemployed mall employees will probably joining them in order to feed their kids, will be targeting the other few restaurants that do not happen to be in malls. Ect…. this is not going to be pretty! I guess my auto curfew is going to increase exponentially!

  4. moctavio Says:

    FranK : Lots of people have done a lot, but we did lose over and over again, blame who you want, but this is another tragedy.It may be late, but saying and doing something is better than accepting it.

  5. Kepler Says:


    It is difficult to say what ALL of them have in common. Some of them used their ecological resources to the point of absolute collapse (Mayas). Others were political divided and a foreign factor intervened (see
    for Baghdad)

    I would recommend two books by Jared Diamond: Guns, germs and steel (about development speeds) and collapse (about why societies can collapse). Still, Venezuela’s case is more related to what the author talks about in the second book, but only to some extent.

    In this century any country’s collapse needs to be seen in the context of the whole world: the fall is faster when there is dependence and that is now always the case.

    If Venezuelans are so adict to oil, if a lot of them are used to consumption rates that are higher than those found in more productive places and if the average population is less flexible and much less well-educated as their neighbours (and incredibly, that is the case for Venezuela), things do not look very pretty.

  6. Mamarracho Says:

    The mall issue is more than air headed youth partying. Malls now are the first option for safe recreation during the evening hours in most Venezuelan urban areas, this fact covers all social economic strata. Not everyone goes there to spend on expensive items, most don’t. There you can enjoy an ice cream or pizza, conversing, or window shopping without the worry of being mugged or gunned downed, or having you car vanish from where you last saw it. The last movies of the day will be projected around 6:20 at the latest. This kills going to the movies for most working people unless you work close to the theater or head directly there after your shift is over.

    What will happen with the mini centro comerciales where there are just a handfull of establishments, where the most relevant ones may be markets, pharmacies, and bakeries? A bakery having to open at 11am becuase it is unfortunately located in a centro comercial? What criteria will be used for defining a centro comerical? What about the carparks in the the malls, especially those near Metro stations? The implications are more complicated than party pooping mall rats.

  7. Frank Says:

    I live in Caracas too. As many of you, I am what you would call a “young professional”. Well, not so young. I do work hard, I do like movies. But hey… I whish this mall issue were my worst problem. To begin with, I don’t have a house, and my salary is not enough even to pay the rent for a room in the city I live.

    Now, how did we came here? It has been eleven years of our lives, living under the tyranny of this moron, but no one has reacted so far. The reasons (some of them): cheap dollars, so middle classes can travel and buy stupid gadgets, and cheap populism used by The Moron to buy the conscience of millions in the so called “working classes” who still define themselves as “chavistas”.

    I think it is too late, way too late. Now, Hugo Chávez will do whatever he wants to do with us and our lives. He wants to keep us in the darkness, well, he will. He wants to keep us afraid of the killers who are free in every corner, and he will.

    Oh, please, open your eyes. This mall thing is nothing compared with the trap that Chávez set up for us. But no one said a damn thing (maybe just me and two or three more) before, because almost everybody were too busy, you know, in the beach, drinking and dancing “reguetón”, because yes, venezuelans are that shallow.

  8. jecs Says:

    I would like to apologize about my off topic comment. When I read “shutdown of shopping centers” I immediately thought about electricity shutdown, I guess that’s what you get when you live in Merida!

  9. deananash Says:

    Kepler, of course, you’re right. The ancient civilizations were “civil” (by their standards) and I’d estimate that 100% of them regressed.

    I’d forgotten about them because I was focused on contemporary history. But even then I forgot about Cuba, being a native from Miami, that’s an ‘unforgivable’ omission on my part. And now that you’ve kickstarted my brain (by the way, thanks), I can think of others, North Korea being one example, Myanmar being another.

    Geez, I wonder what all of these have in common?

  10. Kepler Says:


    I think there are plenty of cases. Just remember people were performing rather complex calculations, had great irrigation systems, were writing poetry for over a thousand years in what is now Iraq while in Britain they would have to wait more than 1000 years before learning how to read or write. Baghdad
    was again a centre of wisdom prior to the Mongol invasion (and complete distruction of irrigation systems and mass murder).
    The Mayas had a great civilization in many ways and because of several factors sent it to disaster before the Spaniards arrived.

    Actually, a lot of the technology Europe had at the end of Roman times just went lost during the early Middle Ages.

    African former colonies also collapsed, although the whole situation is more complex: the colonizers were almost always keeping local education at a minimal level, had initially carried out huge massacres, etc.

    Afghanistan was much more progressive in the fifties and sixties than most Muslim countries. Not that the others have progressed much, but now Afghanistan is a complete disaster.

    More recently we can say the Khmer Rouge sent cambodya to the Middle Ages.

    We know about cuba, although I am not sure about what social conditions there were there for the poorer 30% of the population during Baptista times (I would like to read some about pre-castro cuba)

    Venezuela is one of the few cases when people have been going backwards so willingly in the last decades. No wonder: we actually got too much money without caring for the REAL education of the vast majority of our population.

  11. island canuck Says:

    Roger said: “reading I see that they want to ban the import of appliances and that demand went up since the last election.”

    They didn’t actually ban the import of appliances only those that didn’t meet a certain electrical efficiency.

    It is very difficult to buy certain appliances now here in Margarita.

    We need a normal family size dryer. After a search in 5 different outlets we gave up. The choice was an apartment size that would handle socks & underwear or a super deluxe that cost upwards of BsF.7.000.

    All we want is a normal dryer – not to be found.

    TV’s as well. If you need to replace a CRT TV forget it. The only choices now are LCDs at 4 times the cost.

  12. GB Says:

    Like geha714 said, it is difficult to be a young person in Venezuela today. My wife and I take care of my wife’s 16 year old brother. He loves hanging with his friends and classmates at the local mall on the weekends. My biggest fear is that brother-in-law get cross-wise with a gang, malandros, or with the police and wind up dead. My wife’s family just buried one of their young men; a 20 years old, gunned down in cold blood by a rival, over a girl. Stupid! Every day in the paper there are articles and obits of young men dieing from gunfire. Tragic!

  13. deananash Says:

    Miguel, this is nearly impossible to believe. Has there ever been a case of a country developing backwards? I mean, surely there has been, but I can’t recall it. Anybody else know of one?

    Will no one stand up to Chavez?

    It’s time for another opposition march. This march should DEMAND that electricity be turned off from sundown to sunrise in all commercial enterprises. People can march with the cut off ends of extension cords. That should be the march’s logo, a plug encircled by the international “NO”.

    Who needs electricity anyway? It’s only a capitalistic invention to control the masses.

  14. Roger Says:

    reading I see that they want to ban the import of appliances and that demand went up since the last election. I wonder if all those appliances they tried to buy votes with have anything to do with it? I think the mall is political. You don’t have to run every light and all the AC in the mall at nite. Actually it probably be more efficient to close the mall in the hot afternoon and shut down the AC. Of course thats probably their best time as people escape the heat.
    Regardless, its going to get worse and its long past time to just think about alternative energy! perhaps we should blog it?
    The Toltecs solution was to just go back into the jungle. Ipod or jungle that is the question. Civilization (including bolibananaism) is not static it moves we hope forward or like the economy sometimes backward and at worst into barbarisim!!

  15. jecs Says:

    In any case, you should (really) feel lucky. In Merida, daily blackouts are the rule, two and sometimes three times a day for 2 h each time. They come and go like the wind, no schedule, no planning whatsoever. People got raged and burnt CADELA’s office at some point, of course nothing changed, nor that was the right thing to do anyways…

    I am just visiting for the festivities, after that I will go back to nordic latitudes that now I call home, however my parents and siblings will have to deal with this mess that is Venezuela…

    Happy (?) New Year

  16. dillis Says:

    Island Cannuck,

    The rolling electricity outage hit us last night, just before midnight for 2 hours in Pampatar. Wouldn’t you just love it if it happened all over the country just before midnight tonight!

    I have not seen many red shirts and caps lately here. A distant relative (Chavista) of ours has said he has had enough with Chavez, the cost of food and decorations this Christmas was the final straw for him, along with the constant water and electricity problems in the area of Margarita he lives.

    I get the feeling they are all waking up….

  17. Isabel Says:

    Frank: I have a day job and go to the university, I spend up to three hours a day in a car (not mine) getting to and from both. Once a week, I get out early of the University (9 PM) go to a Mall and have pizza and a movie with my friends to relax some That’s gone.

  18. HalfEmpty Says:

    Sounds like they’re trying to bring down the peak a few hours earlier for maintenane. This early pm load will shift slightly and maybe something can be done done with the extra 2 hours of down time.

  19. island canuck Says:

    This whole issue of the electricity is MUCH worse than the government is telling us. If it wasn’t they wouldn’t be taking these measures which will be very unpopular.

    I can only assume that they have information that some generators are going to have to be shut down for maintenance in early 2010 & they are preparing now for more widespread outages.

    God help us if there are any major breakdowns.

    We were promised uninterrupted service over the vacation period by the manager of Seneca Socialista here in Isla Margarita.

    I guess I don’t have to tell you that yesterday there were rolling cutouts from 1½ to 2 hours because of “excessive use”. This guy should be fired. Why not just tell us the truth?

  20. geha714 Says:

    It’s not easy to be a young person in Venezuela today, professional or not.

    Happy new year, Miguel and keep up the good blogging in 2010!

  21. Guid David Núñez-Mujica Says:

    Yes, because all of us young people, are exactly the same.

    Get a clue, Frank.

  22. moctavio Says:

    Sorry, I disagree, these are people who do care, work hard and have to live a life too. I is not easy being a young professional in Venezuela these days, this makes it worse and harder.

  23. Frank Says:

    Yeah, they like to have fun, they like to party every weekend, they like to go to the movies, they like to drink and dance. Now Hugo Chávez takes the fun away and they bitterly curse Chávez. So sad they did not care before, so sad that everywhen anybody tried to talk them about politics they just frowned and yawned because of the boring coversation. Sooo saad.

    You know? I don’t care about them.

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