back to article Venezuela to shift clocks half an hour

Venezuelan prez Hugo Chavez today postponed a scheme to secure his place in the pantheon of classic comedy Latin American despots by shifting back his country's clocks half an hour, Reuters reports. Chavez rather gamely admitted that his cunning plan, slated for activation today and which "would allow children to wake up for …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Caribbean fever ??

    He has a brother who is just as crazy , ladronel of the dominican republic.

    Sometimes those 2 (1 is still playing with his metro but the kids cannot go to school or have medical attention) make the most stupide decisions of this century and they get away with it.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just goes to show

    That any man with determination no matter how humble his beginnings can grow up to be a mad south american dictator. You can tell he's a modern one though no mustache. Interesting how no matter what people try in those countries they always end up with a more less stark raving loony either a facist(the US funds these) a commie(cuba funds these) or a thief(homegrown).

  3. Dan Beshear

    Daylight Savings/Summer Time is AWFUL

    On November 2, my daughter will be able to watch the sunrise from her kindergarten classroom four minutes AFTER classes have started for the day because of the new Daylight Time rules instituted by Bush and his buddies.

    Screw you George Bush for torturing children by making them be in school BEFORE SUNRISE instead of coming up with a REAL ENERGY SOLUTION.

    Never forget that shifting the clock forward was an invention of Josef Stalin, someone whose boots you would dearly love to lick.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dubya too?

    I'm really surprised the Dubya didn't come up with this brilliant scheme for the US. In a stroke he'd have wrecked most of the world's computer systems. However he likes to be seen as a leader, so following Venezuela will be beneath his dignity.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "All citizens will be required to change their underwear every half hour. Underwear will be worn on the outside, so we can check. Furthermore, all children under sixteen years old - are now sixteen years old."

  6. Chad H.

    @ Dan Beshear

    I believe you'll find the inventor of DST was an American. If memory serves, I think it was Ben Franklin.

  7. Tawakalna

    A wise and just leader..

    the heroic and forward-thinking Comrade Chavez continues to challenge Western imperialist hegemony, this time by taking the Peoples' Republic out of the neo-colonialist time zone imposed by American fascists and counter-revolutionaries in a further attempt to deny the full expression of the Socialist ideal. Long live Comrade Chavez! Forward the Revolucion!

    (I'm turning my Soviet-era Sekonda back right now in a show of solidarity with the progressive forces of the International Socialist Front. It's a lot of watch for little money, as Comrade R.W. Barker told me in 1978.)

    besides, Dubya can't tell the time until Mickey's hands are both pointing up.

  8. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    RE: Dan Beshear

    Actually, the modern form of of DST was originally devised by an Englishman, one William Willet, in 1905, and was first widely taken up by the Germans and their allies and occupied lands in 1916. The Russians didn't make use of it until a year after (before Lenin threw hi sstrop) and after it had been accepted across Europe, and the States was looking at it in 1918 before Stalin had come to power.

    I suggest you try reading some real books instead of just accepting anything spoon-fed to you with the "Bush-is-the-root-of-all-evil" mantra. If not, then I suppose you haven't heard that Bushitler has personally poisoned all dollar bills with a Dummicrat-detecting nano-chip paste and you really need to send me all your money for your own safety.... honest!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Isn't India already on +0530?

    If you look at the headers of an e-mail message you'll see that four digits are used to express the time zone. Here's an example from a message I received from .in:

    Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2007 18:06:25 +0530

  10. Chris Hamilton

    Roman imperialist calendar.

    Why doesn't he abandon that Roman imperialist calendar and declare 2008 to be year 0 AC (After Chavez).

    The man is now surely in the running to replace old Fidel as the worlds whackiest dictator.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And Red Ken is buying their oil?

    Get a PR firm over!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "told Venezuelans to move their clocks forward, when really the measure requires them to be turned back".

    Surely he is right it is forward - any further back and it would be even more nightime - shifting forwards would bypass sunrise

  13. Geoff Allan

    Inventor of DST

    Joseph Stalin ? Naaah

    Modern Daylight Saving Time was first proposed in 1907 by William Willett, and saw its first widespread use in 1916 in the UK as a wartime measure aimed at conserving coal.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fitting names.

    OK, so now he's gone completely Caracas.

    My poncho please.


  15. Phil Vickers

    Indian Standard Time (IST)

    ... is GMT +0430. India does not operate DST.

    So Indian time, relative to the UK, is +0430 or +0530 depending on

    whether we are operating GMT or BST.

    That odd half hour gives the best time 'fit' across a large country without

    the hassle of having to operate different time zones.

  16. John Browne

    Dictator, Despot???

    Wasn't he elected by the people of Venezuela? Isn't he quite popular in Venezuela. I know some quarters would like us to think he's a despot and a dictator but c'mon.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To *really* break the on-the-hour hegemonic timezone tyrrany.... like Nepal, 5 hours 45 minutes ahead of GMT. Pity all of those Nepalese users of Outlook, not only for their choice of software, but also because it only understands half-hour timezones.

  18. Francis Vaughan

    Because he can

    Behaviour like this isn't the sign of anyone crazy. Arguablely it is the sign of someone very smart. He does it because he can. Stirring up silly little things like this is a great way to remind the populace who calls the shots.

    From the technical/IT side of things it is trivial in the extreme. Any useful operating system takes this in its stride, they all use Olson's zoneinfo code, measure time internally in UTC, and can cope with any time-zone offset, including those counties that are on arbitrary offsets from UTC. And it copes with arbitrary changes in daylight saving and time offsets in its stride. Of course there is one OS that is so inward looking that it fails to cope with such trivial things, but no-one technically literate uses it anyway.

    As noted there are a number of other areas of the world that live on half hour boundaries. I live in another. It is a pain somethings, mostly because pretty well any watch you can buy has a really easy jump hour adjust capability, but changing a half hour means you have to drive the minute hand about. So travel means you have to spend an extra 30 seconds messing with your watch. Other than that I don't think I have ever noticed.

    Up until nations were linked internally by railways each town would typically set its time to the appropriate time as befitted their longitude. The UK set the pace, most railways had standardised on the one national time by 1847. In 1880 the legal system followed suit. Of course since it also defined GMT, the UK was by definition on an integral multiple of an hour offset. Where the multiplier was zero.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shifting timezones?

    Surely it would have been easier for Chavez to change the start time of schools?

    This argument can be used to defeat the Scottish dislike for the UK adopting European time - just move the start time of everything in Scotland by an hour, and then shut up.

  20. Mark Malley

    Re: Dan Beshear

    Would your kids rather sit in a classroom while the sun isn't out or play out back in the yard in the dark? I think many people prefer to have light when they get home from school and work vs. having light when they get up.

  21. andy gibson

    Forwards / Backwards

    He does right to instruct his nation to move their clocks forward.

    Have you never heard of the old wives tale that it's bad luck to turn a clock backwards?

  22. Killian

    RE: Dictator, Despot???

    "Wasn't he elected by the people of Venezuela? Isn't he quite popular in Venezuela. I know some quarters would like us to think he's a despot and a dictator but c'mon."


    Although he has powers to rule by decree for the next year or so, these were grated by the National Assembly. Against the back drop of 3 consecutive election victories, retaining his post in an opposition enforced referendum and coup attempt by the military, 'despot' is somewhat wide of the mark.

    But then, it's easier to tag along with the current US administration's view of the world than bother with something as dull as accuracy.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Mark Malley

    Sorry but I personally find being forced to get up in the dark is barbaric. I also strongly believe that having everyones schedules forcibly changed twice a year is also barbaric (Ones body clock can't be reset overnight!). Just set the damned clocks to half an hour in between BST and GMT and leave it there - after all in the UK the benefit of the altered time only lasts a few short weeks due to the magnitude of variation in the length of daylight hours between seasons.

    @re re re re Ban Beshear...

    Oh, hands up how many of you follow-on respondents consulted Wikipedia?

  24. Daniel Ballado-Torres


    DST sucks in zones where sunlight barely changes. Venezuela is right inside the tropical zone, very close to the equator, so I thought this article was about trashing DST. Which I would definitely support.

    I live in Mexico City, so DST means I have to go to work in the dark when I get the early-bird shift. Most people are against DST, as a good part of the country is inside the "tropical zone", thus having no significant sunlight changes. And with Mexico City commuter times, that means you will be doing lots of things in the dark, waking up at 5am; defeating DST purposes.

    The only reason DST was established in 1995 was to sync clocks with the US for merely economic reasons. Any other arguments are pure bollocks.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Crackpot, or megalomaniac, maybe, but certainly not a despot.

    He won many elections fair and square, as reminded above by other posters, including a referendum called by... the opposition.

    That same opposition that controls most media outlets and oil-refining capacity.


    did I say oil? No-one does anything for oil nowadays, do we?

    And for all of you in the UK, did you choose Brown as PM, or was that choice made for you?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    time zones

    It seems to me that the then North Vietnam used to be mod 30 to GMT, it was said to distinguish themselves from the south.

    In any case, some of my fellow geezers may remember the winter of 1973 and 1974, when the US responded to an oil shortage by continuing DST through the winter. Most of us did not enjoy it.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Standard weights and measures...

    For God's sake can't we drop this DST bollucks? By an estimate Bush cited himself, the new change will only save the US two million barrels of oil per year, which is a metaphorical drop in the bucket compared to reprogramming all the computers, missed work hours, scheduling hassles etc.

  28. A J Stiles

    The Big Con

    Daylight Saving Time is a massive con anyway. It doesn't really save anything. The mass confusion it causes almost certainly outweighs any benefit it may once have had.

    In Summer, we get more daylight. That is a fact. It's evenly split about a point called "local solar midday". Along the Greenwich Meridian, solar midday always occurs around 12:00 UTC; it shifts by four minutes for each degree of longitude. At mid-spring, 21 March, and mid-autumn, 21 September, we get exactly 12 hours of daylight from 06:00 UTC to 18:00 UTC. At midwinter, 21 December, the UK gets only 8 hours of daylight from 08:00 until 16:00 UTC; but at midsummer, we receive 16 hours, from 04:00 until 20:00 UTC.

    It so happens that the "standard" working day of 09:00 to 17:00 is centred an hour *after* midday. This gives time to get washed and dressed for work by daylight, even in the very depths of Winter. However, it also means that in the height of Summer, some of the daylight hours occur while people are still sleeping: getting up sooner would give a longer continuous period of daylight.

    What would surely have been logical, would have been to alter the working day. Have businesses work from 09:00 to 17:00 in the Winter and from 08:00 to 16:00 or 07:00 to 15:00 in the Summer. And twice a year, for a few weeks, there would even be just a bit less traffic on the roads due to different businesses switching on different dates.

    Instead, we forced everyone to pretend it was 13:00 when it was really midday -- and we continue to do so, despite the fact that most modern workplaces are not dependent upon natural daylight.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    DST and DORA

    If I remember from GCSE history..Defence of the Realm Act 1914 introduced DST to the UK. So people could work longer producing munitions. Pub opening times were also changed so they were not drunk at work ... something we are only recently correcting.

  30. Al Amet

    Countries align for economic reasons

    Time zones are not set in stone. When where I lived in Indiana we never did daylight savings. From the windows time settings.

    GMT+03:30 Tehran

    GMT+04:30 Kabul

    GMT+05:30 Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi, Sri Jayawrdenepura

    GMT+05:45 Kathmandu

    GMT+06:30 Yangon (Rangoon)

    GMT+09:30 Adelaide, Darwin

    GMT-03:30 Newfoundland

    Countries do alignments to make time relative within their country . If a time zone splits a country they can shift their time a half hour and have the entire country in the same time zone. Shifting an entire country like Venezuela is planning on doing can greatly benefit a country.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The true origin of Daylight Savings Time

    The [modern] origin of Daylight Savings Time was when the idea was published by the American Genius and Savant, Benjamin Franklin.

    He meant it as a joke, of course.

  32. A. Merkin

    Does the "Doomsday Clock" follow DST?

    Hickory, Dickory, Doc,

    Chavez adjusted the clock.

    At half-past two

    he surprized the Coup,

    And threw them all in the Dock

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Chavez root of all evil?

    Of course this will be the man that is throwing (thrown?) out the US water companies because they hiked up the prices so high, most people couldn't afford clean running water and basic sanitation. Nationalised the Oil industry because nearly all the money from their resources went overseas.

    Mmm sounds like an evil dictator to me, he should follow in the good morale standards of the Saudi's and be liked by everyone in the west.

  34. Madrak

    Odd time zone...

    I do find the :45 or :15 time zones a little strange but for me the really bizarre one is Nuku'alofa at GMT +13:00

    just seems odd to me

  35. J

    bloody title

    "being forced to get up in the dark is barbaric"

    Being forced to get up at all is barbaric, I say! And no matter what time I get, I only wake up at 11am anyway... Now, is that DST 11am or not? I gotta check, hard to know when you're barely awake.

  36. Cy


    Should that not be "Yanqui imperialist time zone..."?

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You guys are all idiots

    All of you people making fun of this are idiots UNLESS you live in an area that does not observe Daylight Savings Time. I do. Arizona is one of the few states in the US that doesn't buy into DST.

    But unless all of you people making fun of this are also posting from locales that don't observe DST, then you should be making fun of yourself, and not Chavez.


    Since I don't live in an area that observes DST, I am entitled to say Chavez, and everyone else in the world that observes DST, are all lame and worthy of mocking.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stupid anti DSTers & stupid anti-Chavezers

    Honestly - what is it with these people?

    If you want to criticise a despotic regime, criticise Saudi Arabia - country that gave you 9/11, where women are not permitted to possess a driving licence and where mere possession of a crucifix renders one liable to indefinite detention and torture.

    ...but the Saudi despots are Bush's buddies......

    What's Venezuela ever done to anybody? Given some oil to Cuba?

    Given a bit of money to a few neighbouring countries to save them from having to have dealings with the World Bank?

    Big deal.

    As for DST - your "body clock" has nothing to do with the real clock - and in summer, your "body clock" moves itself back due to the increase in daylight hours. Adjusting the real clock is just to bring things into line a bit better.

    If you don't like what the clock says - just ignore it - do things when your "body clock" tells you to do them.

    Personally, I sleep until 7 in winter, but wake up at 5 in summer, so if I did things according to the real clock I would be wasting my time something chronic - DST or no DST.

    Something anti-DSTers all seem to have in common is utter stupidity - we get it a lot here in Australia from those who live in hotter parts of the country - like the American South, the Australian North is populated by utter morons - I think heat saps intelligence.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Odd time zone .....

    If you think that's odd, after this weekend when New Zealand goes to DST most of the country will be UTC +13:00, the exception being the Chatham Islands to the east, which will be UTC + 13:45.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If you think all this DST stuff is barbarism, you should try traveling beyond your 15-longitudinal-degree sliver of the earth.. the effect on one's precious bodily clock is a disgrace beyond reproach -- absolutely unbecoming of European civility! Please encourage your MEP to support legislation to re-form all national boundaries strictly along meridians evenly divisible by 7.5.

  41. Stephen Gray

    Chavez is my hero!

    Anyone who sticks 2 fingers up at the US is a friend of mine.

  42. HT

    Of course, you're not a right-wing toady, Mr. Baines...

    Venezuelan "dictator" Hugo Chavez, eh?

    If you care, Mr. Baines, to peruse the results for each of

    the elections which Chavez has stood in (y'know, the one's

    that a US supported coup tried to overthrow) you'll see

    his mandate dwarfs that of George W. Bush and Tony Blair.

    At the last general election, four out of five of the

    electorate did NOT vote for your Tory Bliar and his

    Neo-Labour government - did you ever slander him as a

    dictator? No, I thought not. Funny that.

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