Chavez's cheap oil for US poor angers Washington (tip - Eric Rachner)
To the anger of many in Washington, Citgo Petroleum Corporation, a company controlled by the Venezuelan Government, will supply more than 45 million litres of oil at 40 per cent below market prices.
The deal is one of the most spectacular moves yet in Mr Chavez's attempt to market his "21st-century socialism" using his country's oil wealth.
Joe Kennedy, the chairman of Citizens Energy, one of the organisations that will distribute the oil, said the deal highlighted the failure of oil companies in the US and the Government to step in to help.
"Our government has made billions of dollars just this year on the royalty payments the oil companies pay to the Government," he said. But when it is a question of poor Americans, "what do we hear from Washington? Sorry boys. There's no money in the till."
I've been convinced by Matt Simmons arguments that the price of oil needs to remain high -- higher in fact than it is now -- to spur real, positive change for conservation and alternatives.
This approach (intended or not) has the drawback of laying a boot on the neck of the poor.
It is kind of sad that the poor in North America can't expect any help from Washington -- here, watch, as Repuglicans trim the "fat" out of the budget by cutting food stamps and benefits which would have helped poor people all year --
-- or run the war in Iraq for a few days.
Chavez's insult is perfectly tuned to tweaking the present policies of the United States.