Turning back the clock in Venezuela
President Hugo Chavez is taking Venezuela back in time - by 30 minutes, to be exact.
His government's plan to turn back clocks by a half-hour has some Venezuelans pleased at the prospect of sleeping in. Others seem vexed that Chavez is making the entire nation change its daily rhythm. But while some bloggers suggest Chavez just wants to get out of Washington's "imperialist" time zone, it also must be noted the change will put Venezuela a half-hour apart from his Cuban allies.
"It seems crazy to me," says 38-year-old Maritza Mendoza, who sells orange juice from a sidewalk stand in downtown Caracas. "It's a whim, just like the change of the currency."
Venezuela's upcoming launch of the "strong bolivar" - eliminating three zeros and reducing bills to 2-, 5-, 10-, 20-, 50-, and 100-bolivar denominations - joins a growing list of changes promoted by Chavez. He's transformed the national seal, the national flag and even the country's name - now the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, after independence hero Simon Bolivar.