Venezuela declares every Friday a holiday as energy crisis bites

 
Jessica Morris
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President Of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro Meets With United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon
Maduro decreed a week-long break over Easter (Source: Getty)

Venezuela has declared that every Friday for the next two months will be a holiday.

In a televised speech last night, Venezuela's president Nicolas Maduro said: "We'll have long weekends."

While your typical workers probably dreams of a four-day working week, more time off for Venezuelans is actually the result of a crippling energy crisis.

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Despite its vast oil reserves, Venezuela is highly dependent on its hydroelectric dams which are at extremely low levels due to a severe drought.

This, coupled with what critics say is a lack of investment and maintenance in energy infrastructure, has hit the South American nation hard.

"I think we can overcome this situation without increasing fares or rationing," added Maduro.

But the country's opposition slammed the new four-day work week as reckless given Venezuela's bitter recession, food and medicine shortages, and triple-digit inflation.

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The announcement comes on the heels of Maduro decreeing a week-long break over Easter, ordering some shopping malls to generate their own power, and shortening daily working hours.

The 60-day plan's fine print will be announced later today. It's not yet clear how the non-working Fridays will apply to the public and private sector.

Last year, public sector workers had their working day cut to just 5.5 hours, down from eight to nine hours.

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