You might think that it would be an American program that is helping the poor and elderly to get cheap heating oil this coming winter. You might justifiably expect that it is a program designed by the leadership of this country to help our people. You would be wrong.
Citgo Petroleum, backed by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, plans to expand a controversial program of subsidizing home-heating oil for the U.S. poor this year, doubling the number of states that will receive the cheap oil.Flush with cash from soaring oil prices, Chavez has used Venezuela’s petroleum wealth to secure closer ties with South American neighbors and proposed the U.S. heating oil program last year to trim costs for America’s poor — a group he says Bush’s government has severely neglected.
Citgo, the Houston unit of Venezuelan state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela, will sell 80 million to 100 million gallons of heating oil for 40 percent less than its usual price in 16 states — from Alaska to the U.S. east coast.