Venezuela's Very Own Time Zone
Back in 2007, Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez, had the idea of putting the clock back by half an hour on a permanent basis. This would result in the country having its own unique time zone that no other country has. The new time would put the country four-and-a-half hours behind Greenwich Mean Time. Chavez claims that the time change will result in improvements in the country's overall performance because Venezuelans will be waking up to a lighter sky. Chavez and his supporters also argue that it is unfair for school children and workers to have to get up at 5 am everyday due to the time that Venezuela had been going along with for years. They argue that the population will be happier and more productive when they are starting their day in daylight rather than waking up to darkness every day. The country's Minister of Science and Technology was in support of this major change. Similar to Chavez, the minister argues that humans naturally are accustomed to working in the bright daytime and sleeping at night, just like most of the animals in the kingdom. Therefore, it is beneficial and economically efficient to have people be more motivated to get out of bed in the morning when they see the sun already rising instead of it still being dark outside. Furthermore, He stated that on midnight December 31, 2007, the clocks would have to go back half an hour. The minister explained that this shift is rational because the country had been following the time of when the meridian line passes through the middle of Venezuela, which is the same time as the eastern region of the country. He argues that instead of creating two different time zones for the east and west sides, it is more logical and fair to go by the time in the west of Venezuela, which is half an hour behind the east. Furthermore, the date for this change to occur was delayed a few times until the country was finally ready to do it.
Moreover, Chavez got lots of criticism for his proposed idea. Many people found him crazy for wanting to make a half hour change. It is quite interesting what a ruckus was created over this proposal considering the fact that Venezuela used to go by the time of GMT-4.30 until 1964. Many critics say that this is an unnecessary change for the country and that Chavez is trying to be in a different time zone than his arch-nemesis, the United States. Chavez was also being criticized due to the fact that he had already made so many unnecessary changes to the country beforehand. The country's name and flag were altered under Chavez's ruling.