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News :: International
Venezuela expands heating oil discounts in Northeast and beyond
17 Jan 2006
On Jan. 12 Maine State governor John Baldacci with representatives from the state’s heating oil assistance program and the Venezuelan government signed a contract with CITGO to provide eight million gallons of heating oil at a 40 percent discount to low-income residents.

A statewide heating assistance program in Massachusetts began Nov. 22 and a similar program in The Bronx started Dec. 6 and more than half-a-dozen more are imminent.
Hchavez.jpg
By Bryan G. Pfeifer

As the ruling class and their servants savagely attack the working class and oppressed worldwide at every available opportunity, Venezuela is advancing its Bolivarian Revolution by engaging in genuine unity and solidarity in the United States and beyond.

Beginning in November 2005, Venezuela’s most concrete form of humanitarian internationalism for U.S. residents to date is via CITGO, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA. CITGO is the only major oil company to grant heating oil discounts to low-income people in the U.S. setting aside 10 percent of its oil production revenues to aid the poor.

Despite record-breaking profits-a reported $33 billion in 2005’s third quarter-of all of the U.S.-based Big Oil corporations in 2005, none has granted one penny in discounts. But they have reduced production to drive up prices thus in effect enacting a wage cut upon tens of millions of U.S. residents among other attacks.

‘A human face’

On Jan. 12 Maine State governor John Baldacci with representatives from the state’s heating oil assistance program and the Venezuelan government signed a contract with CITGO to provide eight million gallons of heating oil at a 40 percent discount to low-income residents.

CITGO also pledged to provide 120,000 gallons of heating oil to homeless shelters in Maine that will be delivered to more than 40 shelters by their heating oil suppliers. With the discount residents expect to save 60 to 80 cents per gallon, a significant savings as home heating oil costs have increased on average 30 to 50 percent over the 2004-05 winter season. Many recipients say the assistance comes just on time as the heart of an often frigid winter in the Northeast arrives.

In a separate deal, CITGO will provide discounted heating oil to over 900 households on or near the Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, Micmac and the Maliseet native Nations. This deal is worth approximately $543,000. The total CITGO discounts in Maine are worth over $5 million reaching over 48,000 households.

“The Penobscot Nation is very grateful,” said tribal leader James Sappier. In regard to Venezuelean president Hugo Chavez Frias, Sappier added, “We appreciate him very much as a leader. It’s been said he’s one of us. His thinking is like ours,” (timesargus.com).

The Maine program follows similar ones in areas of the U.S. where blistering cold weather is a factor. CITGO’s discounted heating oil could be the difference between life and death and preventing or alleviating serious physical ailments due to lack of sufficient heat specifically for children and elders.

“This program has a human face. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez made a promise in New York City following hurricanes Katrina and Rita and this Maine heating oil program represents the goodwill between the people of Venezuela and the United States,” said Bernando Alvarez-Herrera, Venezuela Ambassador upon the signing of the Maine deals.

“Help for those who need it most is a cornerstone of the new Venezuelan economy under President Chavez," continued Alvarez-Herrera, "and this program, following similar ones in Massachusetts and the Bronx, is part of a new effort to increase regional integration,” (venezuelanalysis.com).

A statewide heating assistance program in Massachusetts began Nov. 22 and a similar program in The Bronx started Dec. 6 and more than half-a-dozen more are imminent.

After Maine, CITGO and Rhode Island completed a deal Jan. 13. CITGO will sell 3.3 million gallons of heating oil to Citizens Energy, a nonprofit company that is also distributing the discounted heating oil in Massachusetts. Homeless shelters and community clinics will also be receiving discounted oil. Community organizations will help arrange the discounted oil shipments.

“This is going to really help us out a lot,” said Denise Bloomingburgh as Felix Rodriguez, president and CEO of CITGO pumped the first discounted oil into her basement in Warwick, Rhode Island. Bloomingburgh and her husband have two children and she said rising energy costs, unemployment, and inadequate part-time and temporary jobs have hit her family and others in her community and state hard.

Talks are ongoing for similar programs in Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Vermont and the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn, Harlem and Queens. CITGO hopes to have secured deals in place for these areas by the end of January.

Meanwhile in Chicago a battle is raging between the Chicago Transit Authority and its mostly poor riders and their allies. Since only about 12,000 households use heating oil in Illinois, CITGO offered the CTA a 40-50 percent discount on diesel fuel for buses to offset soaring oil and gas prices for low-income Chicagoans. Riders could then receive lower fares or other discounts proposed CITGO. The CTA has refused CITGO’s proposed discounts on over seven million gallons of diesel worth almost $15 million despite the transit agency’s budget deficit of $17 million for fiscal 2006.

The CTA isn’t a nonprofit organization; it is a government agency that receives a significant amount of funding from the federal government. Just weeks after CITGO made its offer last fall, Congress passed the Federal Transportation Appropriations bill, allocating $89 billion in CTA infrastructure projects.

Under pressure from over 20 organized labor leaders, community activists and others, CTA officials have agreed to meet with CITGO by the end of January.

‘This revolution is real’

When the Venezuelan government announced CITGO’s intent to expand the home heating oil programs in the United States Jan. 8, a group of U.S. activists including artist Harry Belafonte, actor Danny Glover, Princeton University scholar Dr. Cornel West, journalist Tavis Smiley and United Farm Workers leader Dolores Huerta were touring a state-funded cooperative in Caracas with Alvarez-Herrera.

Upon hearing the heating oil announcement, they immediately hailed it as an advance for humanitarian internationalism and hope, said Dr. West.

“This revolution is real; it’s not something that people are just talking about,” (venezuelanalysis.com).

-- 30 --

(c) 2005 Bryan G. Pfeifer
Union labor donated
HugoChavez1824.jpeg
See also:
http://www.venezuelanalysis.org
http://www.iacboston.org

This work is in the public domain.
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Re: Venezuela expands heating oil discounts in Northeast and beyond
17 Jan 2006
I'm been a loyal customer of CITGO gasoline in the Phoenix area for years. When do I get a discount? All the help Hugo is giving,is directed only to Upper Mid-West & New England states! What about us poor people in the South West?
Re: Venezuela expands heating oil discounts in Northeast and beyond
17 Jan 2006
What a hilarious comment! It's a political move, comprende? Not assistance that otherwise your government should provide or force the cronies at Exxon to give up.
Re: Venezuela expands heating oil discounts in Northeast and beyond
17 Jan 2006
With heating oil it is relatively easy to identify "need", there's already existing assistance programs in place. Gasoline is much harder since there is no such program anywhere I know of, also people are less likely to siphon off their discount heating oil and selll it at a profit than it is for gasoline (if only because you need so much more heating oil to make a "useful amount", my tank holds 250 gal. and lasts 4-6 weeks in winter, ouch).

This is why in Chicago they tried to do a deal with public transit, not may oil heat customers, and public transit usually serves the lower classes. Check http://chicago.indymedia.org/newswire/display_any/68186

It is a hilarious statement, it's rediculous to have Argentina bailing low income US citizens out of an energy crisis the US created and the ruling class is profiting greatly from. Is this getitng any play in corporate media, do people realize Agrentina is bail their asses out?
Re: Venezuela expands heating oil discounts in Northeast and beyond
19 Jan 2006
dear señor arizona,

maybe we're more concerned with keeping people from freezing to death than driving gas guzzlers....

abrazos,

hugo
Re: Venezuela expands heating oil discounts in Northeast and beyond
19 Jan 2006
I say screw Chavez. The left is screaming that Iraq is a war for oil - Well let's give them a real war for oil and depose that scum bag!!!
Re: Venezuela expands heating oil discounts in Northeast and beyond
20 Jan 2006
great reasoning skills there Sid!
Re: Venezuela expands heating oil discounts in Northeast and beyond
20 Jan 2006
then maybe we can make those people put their oil on the world market!





oh wait
Re: Venezuela expands heating oil discounts in Northeast and beyond
20 Jan 2006
"let's give them a real war for oil" and depose the Bushistas and the oiligarchs right here and now! Bring the war home! Long may the Citgo sign shine over Kenmore Square, beacon of revolutionary internationalism!
Re: Venezuela expands heating oil discounts in Northeast and beyond
20 Jan 2006
The fate of Venezuela is disturbing and deeply disapointing to
me after 27+ years there - 23 employed by Creole, an Esso (Exxon) subsidiary
and 4 more as a contractor (Exxon Services, SA) after nationalization of all
the oil companies operating in the country. There was full cooperation during
all that time in training and preparing national personnel from top
management on down to a high degree of competence. After nationalization the
Venezuelan industry set sail to what appeared to be a bright future but it
did not take long for government to begin withdrawing excessively. This made
upkeep and capital improvements difficult and frustrated sound management.

Hugo Chavez exacerbated the situation. He was elected to clean up corruption.
But he changed that to the communist variety. After a general strike he
replaced the experienced cadre of management with political cronies. Today
output is half what it was only six years ago. His administration survives
only because of the much higher price paid for the oil. Still he gives about
$2 billion away in oil to Cuba yearly to help Castro and foments socialism
all over the hemisphere. His latest gambit is to require companies to cede
51% of control of their directors to the workers. This didn't work in Eastern
Europe and it isn't working in Venezuela.

The country's economy is going steadily downhill, crime is rampant, essential
equipment is in a junk pile and weeds grow in oil camps once well maintained.
Venezuela found a natural market for its enormous oil wealth in the United
States. US companies ceded control amid amicable cooperation with the
government. After 1975 the sound market relationship that emerged has
unhappily been disrupted by self seeking politicians and finally by a most
hate filled dictator.

The Chavez rule hangs by a fraying rope. 70% of the people are against him.
He uses computerized voting machines the results of which are hacked out to
be in his favor. He keeps the military under control with frequent purges and
pay raises. This can only go on for so long no matter how high the price of
oil.

Dan
Re: Venezuela expands heating oil discounts in Northeast and beyond
25 Jan 2006
"the Chavez rule hangs by a fraying rope"? If Exxon "cadres" and their "political cronies" in Washington have their wicked way that will probably be tragically true as they've been making plans to assassinate him just like one of his Latin American political predecessors, Salvador Allende was 32 years ago (and as they've tried and failed to do to Fidel many times). And just as with Chile after Allende's election the Exxon/Washington axis of evil is ramping up the pressure on Chavez's Venezuela trying once again to "make the economy scream", to use the perverse parlance of the satanic Nixon/Kissinger regime of that time. Just about the time 'ol Dan and his Exxon cadres were getting started indoctrinating Venezuelan "national personnel" to a "high degree of competence" in serving U.S. and international capital markets, the Chicago boys were teaching the same servile lessons to Pinochet's fascist goons in Chile and much of the rest of neo-colonized Latin America, most of which was also under military dictatorship. The Venezuelan oil industry "set sail to what appeared to be a bright future" alright - but the rest of society didn't! Government began withdrawing "excessively" for social concerns which obviously is "contrary" to "sound"(!) capitalist management practices. This, of course, makes "upkeep" of dividends and share prices and "cadres" salaries very "difficult"! Before Chavez, sound social and economic relationships had been disrupted by "self seeking" foreign investors and energy corporations; and "hate filled" U.S. presidents and politicians. Which is why 70% of the people (Venezuelan!) are FOR him! Unlike in the U.S where voting fraud in Florida and elsewhere is rampant and elections are "hacked out" by campaign spending and 'spin' ; and the military is kept "under control" with frquent spending "raises"; while this country's economy (and social spending) "is going steadily downhill" Venezuela and Chavez is setting a different social and political economic agenda, that puts people (and the enviornment) before profits; and this can "go on" - and on and on and on! just as long as we support it! Viva Chavez! Long may the Citgo sign shine over Kenmore Sq. in revolutionary Boston!
Re: Venezuela expands heating oil discounts in Northeast and beyond
27 Jan 2006
Amen !
Re: Venezuela expands heating oil discounts in Northeast and beyond
29 Jan 2006
high i tropi
Re: Venezuela expands heating oil discounts in Northeast and beyond
29 Jan 2006
high i tropi
Re: Venezuela expands heating oil discounts in Northeast and beyond
05 Feb 2006
He's just another dictator who needs to have his ass kicked.
Re: Venezuela expands heating oil discounts in Northeast and beyond
09 Feb 2006
Please remember to only buy Citgo gas and boycott all US oil co.'s especially EXXON!! the greediest of them all.Find the nearest Citgo station near you at Citgo.com.We can make the US oil co.'s pay for their crimes.Show your appreciation for Hugo and his generous gift to the poor and needy.The US oil co.'s would never help out the poor in the USA.
Re: Venezuela expands heating oil discounts in Northeast and beyond
11 Feb 2006
Every time I come across Pat Robertson-loving Sid types at Indymedia, I make a point of publishing four counter-attacks elsewhere.
About Sid
13 Feb 2006
I have seen the oracles of 'Sid' elsewhere. He is noted for a lack of reasoning and speaking out of his butt hole.

These kinds of trolls are like a barometer for viable content. If your post does not generate trolls like Sid, then you have not said anything worthwhile.

By the way Sid, I am letting you know that I will not come back here to read your asinine retort, so swallow it, or tell someone who cares…

Oh, look what I did; I just wasted attention on a troll.

Bye bye!