Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro wished Venezuelans a “merry early Christmas” on Saturday and kicked off the festivities by flicking on the Nativity lights at the presidential palace. The reason for the early celebration, he explained, was to bring “happiness for everyone.” That happiness comes in the form of early Christmas bonuses, which will be paid out to public employees on Nov. 10 and 11, according to Fox News Latino.
Cynics have noted Maduro’s stocking stuffers will fall suspiciously close to municipal elections on Dec. 8, but Maduro refused to let the Grinches dampen his spirit.
“Early Christmas is the best vaccine for anyone who wants to make things up, anyone who wants to stir up trouble and violence,” he said in a televised speech.
He also defended his plan to spread year-round cheer through the establishment of a Ministry of Supreme Happiness. “It’s provocative to make it a ministry, right?” Maduro said, before imploring Venezuelans to live their lives to the fullest. “That’s the main message I wanted to give here. Let’s be happy and make others happy too.”
On the upside, Venezuela consistently ranks high on the list of happiest nations, in which case the President and the Ministry of Supreme Happiness may be preaching to the converted.