Chavez said: "I don't care if they call me crazy, the new time will go ahead.
"These children have to get up at five in the morning ... they arrive at school dead tired. And why? Because of our time."
An affordable whim
Fausto Maso, a political analyst, told Al Jazeera that it will be costly for Venezuela as it will mean computer and telecommunications adjustments, but it will be a cost the country can afford.
Maso said: "It's a whim, but at least it is well intentioned. In an oil rich country like [Venezuela] you can do anything you want. You just have to say, 'do it'."
But in Venezuela, large traffic jams mean hours waiting to get to work. Some doubt if a change of half an hour will make any difference.
One resident said: "It does not mean anything to me. I will still wake up at dawn to get to my job on time. It is nonsense."
It makes Venezuela the only complete country in the Western hemisphere to be on the half hour. The province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada also follows the half hour.
Only Myanmar, Afghanistan and India in the Western hemisphere are on a half an hour division.