Turn out the lights, shorten the shower to three minutes, buy a portable generator.
That is President Hugo Chavez's message to the citizens of energy-rich Venezuela, where the "socialist revolution" has brought power cuts, water shortages and collapsing public services.
In the past month, thousands of Venezuelans have taken to the streets to protest the lack of basic social services, from electricity to water. On Thursday, about 100 demonstrators turned out in Caracas calling for Chavez to solve the problem.
Some burned electricity bills while others simulated plugging electric devices into candles.
"We're accused of wasting electricity, but the fact is the government didn't plan, didn't invest and didn't carry out maintenance," Aixa Lopez, president of the Committee of Blackout Victims, told the TV news channel Globovisión.
For more than a decade, Chavez has dominated Venezuelan politics, establishing a grip on power unequaled in the region, outside of Cuba. But lower oil prices, as well as the effects of economic mismanagement and neglected infrastructure, have begun to erode his popular support. A weak and divided opposition seems poorly placed to take advantage of the opportunity.
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