Monday, April 2, 2007

There Will Be No Drinking This Holiday Week!

The latest instillation of "President Chavez Goes to Crazyland" is being brought to you by our friends at Polar. In case you didn't know it, Polar is the Venezuelan equivalent of Budweiser. It's the Venezuelan King of Beers.

Last year Hugo Chavez got disgusted at the sight of children unloading crates of beer from the beer trucks in slums. The beer was being sold right off the trucks in the streets. I am under the impression this was actually legal. (Think ice cream truck - without the ice cream.) Last October he ordered the beer trucks off the streets. This seems like a solid decision to me.

Here's where things get downright odd, though. Hugo Chavez is constantly at odds with everyone, thumbing his nose and hurling insults and anyone who questions his often peculiar decisions/mandates/rulings. He's got no respect for the prevalent religion of his country, which is mostly Catholic. When he doesn't like what the church has to say, he's quick to start hurling insults and calling names like the kid in the schoolyard everyone tries to ignore.

But for the upcoming Easter holiday, he's banned sales of alcohol. Is it really about Easter as a religious holiday? No, absolutely not. I don't think he even puts up such pretense. He says this week is a bad week for crime and auto accidents, and he hopes to put a dent in that statistic this year by banning alcohol sales. As of Friday, March 30th, alcohol can only be sold between 10AM and 5PM, throughout the holy week. Then, on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday there are to be no sales of alcohol at all.

I note in every article I've read there was absolutely no mention of Saturday. I find it odd. Can they spend Saturday partying like it's 1999?

So, I guess you're good this week if you don't have a job and you start drinking at 10AM. You can party until 5PM! This ban includes bars and restaurants, so dinner and a drink is out this whole week.

So far, it's hard for me to hate the guy for saying "You folks don't need to booze it up over the holiday week." Granted, it puts a damper on the kind of parties some people like to have. But there's a possibility to purchase it during the day, at least through Wednesday. There's no decree against drinking it during the times selling is banned.

What is his motivation, though? Is it to please his Iranian friends, who don't agree with alcohol consumption in the first place?

He has an eighteen month power to rule by decree, not that he really needed it since he holds the congress in his pocket. Now he has Carte Blanche. Something tells me this is not the last, but rather the first in a long line of rulings we will be hearing about in the coming months.

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