Venezuelan president Nocolas Maduro has seen his support wane since being chosen to replace Hugo Chavez back in April. With an election looming, he decided it was time to call in the big guns: Santa Claus.
Facing constant food shortages, a spike in crime and worsening power outages, Maduro has apparently realized fixing all of his nation’s problems before people return to the polls on December 8th is a long shot. The only option left was to distract the voters with a shiny new toy — or with as many shiny new toys as they want to buy each other — because he declared that Christmas has arrived early this year. Like right now!
According to NPR, Maduro ordered the arrival of Christmas on November 1st, nearly two month ahead of schedule, in order to make everyone happy. As part of the move, all workers will receive the first two-thirds of their bonuses and pensions next week. Whether they’ll get the rest of the money after Election Day depends on if Santa will swing back their way on real Christmas.
Critics argue that the early Christmas is just the latest scheme to give Maduro an edge in the upcoming election and to distract the people from Venezuela’s real problems — like the toilet paper shortage. Sounds like all many Venezuelans want for Christmas is something to wipe their bottoms with.
Maduro for the most part seems to be ignoring the critics, attending “early Christmas” festivities like lighting the Nativity lights at the Presidential Palace and visiting the Socialist Christmas Fair. Hey, worst case scenario, he can still bump up Chanukah a few weeks.