Light bulbs power Venezuela outside Of electricity crisisBBC Americas #BBC_NewsFebruary 12, 2019
It might sound like the start of a bad joke, but how many Venezuelan soldiers does it take to change a light bulb?
On the Fuerte Tiuana military base in Caracas, there is a warehouse full of light bulbs.
Outside the warehouse, a platoon of soldiers is standing to attention for their colonel before being dispatched to hand out the light bulbs in one of the capital’s poorest neighbourhoods.
Venezuelans are the highest energy consumers per capita in Latin America
Javier AlvaradoCorporelec president and vice-minister for electrical energy
“In the business, I changed around 40 bulbs last week through Mision Sucre [one of the government’s social missions] and now another five today in this apartment.”
Asked whether it is the money or the energy he is most interested in saving, his answer is emphatic: “It’s the money,” he says – a response many in San Augustin would likely echo.
The president of Corporelec and vice-minister for electrical energy, Javier Alvarado, is confident that the current crisis is helping change public attitudes.
The business community is concerned that the government’s energy-saving initiatives, such as forced blackouts and heavy fines for any company which does not cut its electricity consumption by 20%, will cripple Venezuelan productivity.
If all of us switch off one light, that’s 27 million light bulbs, and that’s what makes the difference.