Venezuela falls behind the times

JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images (FILE photo) Perhaps hoping to turn back time after last week’s electoral defeat, Hugo Chávez has finally followed through on plans to set back Venezuela’s official clock by half an hour. The move is being billed as a public health measure but, as far as I’m concerned, is basically just begging headline ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
597682_071210_chavez_0_05.jpg
597682_071210_chavez_0_05.jpg

JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images (FILE photo)

Perhaps hoping to turn back time after last week's electoral defeat, Hugo Chávez has finally followed through on plans to set back Venezuela's official clock by half an hour. The move is being billed as a public health measure but, as far as I'm concerned, is basically just begging headline writers to come up with stupid puns. (Back to the future, anyone?)

The scheme was originally announced back in September, but was derailed by confusion over whether clocks were being set forward or back. (Chávez didn't seem too sure himself.) Now that the scheme has been made official, Venezuela joins Afghanistan, India, Iran, and Burma as countries that differ from Greenwich Mean Time by half-hour increments. Take that, imperialists!

JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images (FILE photo)

Perhaps hoping to turn back time after last week’s electoral defeat, Hugo Chávez has finally followed through on plans to set back Venezuela’s official clock by half an hour. The move is being billed as a public health measure but, as far as I’m concerned, is basically just begging headline writers to come up with stupid puns. (Back to the future, anyone?)

The scheme was originally announced back in September, but was derailed by confusion over whether clocks were being set forward or back. (Chávez didn’t seem too sure himself.) Now that the scheme has been made official, Venezuela joins Afghanistan, India, Iran, and Burma as countries that differ from Greenwich Mean Time by half-hour increments. Take that, imperialists!

The change is one of several initiatives in recent days that seem meant to show that Chávez is still capable of making policy after his constitutional changes were rejected by a close popular vote. If one of the only upsides of accepting defeat for Chávez was that it bolstered his credentials as a democrat, activities like hanging out with Belorussian dictator Aleksandr Lukashenko and dedicating statues of Ho Chi Minh in Caracas don’t really make it seem like he’s trying to capitalize.

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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