"This is not life." That's what a fed-up resident of the Venezuelan city of Maracaibo tells Vice News. Residents of that country, which is being ravaged by an economic downturn and serious energy shortage, have already had their workweek slashed to two days (at least the 2 million public sector employees have), endured rolling blackouts, and had their school week reduced. In the latest effort on the energy front, President Nicolas Maduro had the country move its clocks forward a half hour on Sunday, the BBC reports. Science and Technology Minister Jorge Arreaza noted that nighttime lighting and AC use were a major drain on the national power grid and gave the "simple" directive a pleasant spin: It "will allow us to enjoy more daylight, and it won't get dark so early."
Plunging global oil prices and a prolonged drought have pushed the oil-rich country, which relies heavily on hydroelectricity, to the brink. Residents in some areas have been experiencing four-hour daily blackouts since March, per Vice. One man, who lives in the state of Barinas says he initially thought using candles for light was romantic; now he's over it. Rain in Venezuela has decreased some 40% in recent years. Nonetheless, critics of Maduro, successor to the late Hugo Chavez, accuse his government of mismanagement, and the BBC reports political opponents amassed almost 2 million signatures in their push to secure a referendum to oust him. In another blow, Venezuela's largest brewer of beer shut down operations Friday, leaving just enough beer to dull the pain of existence for one more week, the Wall Street Journal reports. (Read more Venezuela stories.)