Hugo and the Heart

by Russ Roberts on November 29, 2005

in Energy

I always thought of Hugo Chavez as something of a ruthless guy.  Turns out he’s full of ruth.  CNN reports:

Citgo Petroleum Corp., a subsidiary of Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, will supply oil at 40 percent below market prices.

It will be distributed by two nonprofit organizations, Citizens Energy Corp. and the Massachusetts Energy Consumers Alliance.

agreement gives President Hugo Chavez’s government standing as a
provider of heating assistance to poor U.S. residents at a time when
U.S. oil companies have been reluctant to do so and Congress has failed
to expand aid in response to rising oil prices.

U.S. Rep. William Delahunt of Massachusetts, a Democrat, met with Chavez in August and helped broker the deal.

He said his constituents’ needs for heating assistance trump any political points the Chavez administration can score.

is a humanitarian gesture," Delahunt said, speaking after a news
conference with Venezuelan officials and others outside the home of a
constituent in Quincy who will receive heating aid.

A humanitarian gesture.  Phew.  Thought it might have something to do with politics, either Delahunt’s or Chavez’s.  Hugo is also working the pols of New York, promising to send cheap oil there, too, in a deal "negotiated" by Representative Jose Serrano.

The Boston Globe’s AP story has this wonderful (tragiwonderful) quote from one Massachusetts resident:

Linda Kelly of Quincy, Mass., said she feels grateful to Chavez for
the fuel that her family of five received this week at a 40 percent

"He’s doing the right thing," Kelly, 44, said in a
phone interview Wednesday. "The people of Venezuela are lucky to have
him. That’s what government is supposed to be about — taking care of
the little guy."

Yes, the people of Venezuela are lucky to have him.  He’s selling oil at a 40% discount to people in a country whose per-capita income is over SIX TIMES that of Venezuela’s.  That’s a man who really knows how to take care of the little guy.

(ht: Camilo Montenegro)


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