Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Venezuelan Aid for American Indians

Venezuela Considers Cheap Heating Oil For Indians,
The Bismarck Tribune,

August 14, 2006

"Everett, WA: Venezuela's state-owned oil company wants to offer deep discounts on home heating oil to American Indian tribes in the Pacific Northwest, The Herald of Everett reported Saturday. Representatives of oil-giant Citgo Petroleum Corp. have contacted the Tulalip Tribes near Marysville, the Yakama Nation in central Washington, the Nez Perce and Coeur D'Alene tribes in Idaho, and others with information about a possible 40 percent discount on home heating oil.

Citgo is the Houston-based subsidiary of an oil company controlled by Venezuela and its controversial elected president, Hugo Chavez.

The idea is still in the exploratory stage, Citgo spokesman Jorge Toledo said.

'We're going to meet with some tribes in the West Coast within the next few weeks to consider the feasibility of a program there,' he said. A local meeting is scheduled Wednesday at a SeaTac hotel.

While heating oil is widely used on the East Coast, it's been mostly replaced by natural gas in the West. Heating oil is essentially the same product as diesel fuel. Citgo first delivered discounted heating oil to low-income communities last year in Massachusetts, New York and other Northeast states. Using the slogan, 'From the Venezuelan heart to the U.S. hearths,' Citgo sold fuel to eligible homes and nonprofit organizations. By spring, the company had delivered nearly 40 million gallons of heating oil to 181,000 American households, company President Felix Rodriguez said.

The city of Chicago declined a deal with Citgo for fueling public buses that could have saved $15 million. City leaders said they were reluctant to deal with Chavez."

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