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.