A week after the Ministry of Electrical Energy demanded that the country’s shopping malls generate and provide for their own electricity needs between the hours of 1:00-3:00 PM and 7:00-9:00 PM, some the nation’s malls shut down during those hours for the first time yesterday. El Nacional reports that while some malls in Caracas closed between 1:00-3:00 PM, others instead were opened only between 3:00-7:00 PM.
The newspaper reports that at Caracas’ Sambil mall, curious onlookers approached mall staff during the afternoon shutdown to ask what was going on. Journalists overheard a staff person answer an inquisitive shopper by saying:
This is a new government measure. Didn’t you know about it?
While the mall’s food court was allowed to continue operating in the name of food safety, as were its banks and parking lot lighting units.
In contrast, every establishment in the nearby San Ignacio mall closed between 1:00-3:00 PM, effectively shutting down the entire mall.
Tulio Briceño, the general manager at a fast food restaurant at one of the malls that closed in the early afternoon, lamented the fact that his establishment could no longer operate during the lunch hours, which is when it earns 75% of its sales. On his fight to keep his restaurant open, Briceño said:
We tried to put up a fight. There’s nothing more than can be done now.
Below, some pictures of Caracas malls affected by the electricity rationing regime yesterday, courtesy of El Nacional:
The sign posted on this security gate reads “We will open at 3:00 PM”:
CAVECECO: Malls Cannot Generate Electricity
Claudia Itriago, the director of the Venezuelan Chamber of Shopping Malls, said in an interview with Globovision yesterday that the Ministry of Electrical Energy’s plan to restrict electrical service to Venezuela’s shopping malls during peak hours “not viable”. Itriago said that despite claims by Minister of Electrical Energy Luis Motta Dominguez that the country’s shopping malls can simply generate their own electricity during peak hours is “totally false”, and that the approximately 1% of malls that do have generators could only “cover 40-60%” of their electricity demands.
Deputy Calls for Polar Exproporation
PSUV National Assembly deputy Ricardo Molina called for the expropriation of Polar, the country’s largest private-sector food producer, citing the need to win the “economic war” the PSUV claims is responsible for the crisis in the country.
According to Molina, Polar plays a pivotal role in creating the country’s crisis:
We have problems in Venezuela, but they’re not caused by the government. They’re caused by the private sector, which is supported by private national and international media.
Molina made the comments as the National Assembly begins to discuss the severe food shortages that have been plaguing the country in recent months.
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