With the weather turning colder, we’re surprised not to have seen Joe Kennedy on TV promoting his Citizens Energy’s program of heating oil for the poor. His TV ads always had real emotional oomph and were certainly the most effective propaganda tool in the United States available to the Venezuelan dictatorship of Hugo Chavez.
Citgo, the U.S. subsidiary of the government-owned petroleum company, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., provided the heating oil so Kennedy’s outfit could redistribute it as evidence of Chavez’s munificence. “Just as the government of President Hugo Chavez has made significant efforts in the fight against poverty and in promotion of social justice in Venezuela, we hope that this program can help needy communities and groups in the US to weather cold winters,” Bernardo Alvarez, the ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, declared at a ceremony last January at Riverside Church in Manhattan. Kennedy and the president of Citgo Petroleum Company, Alejandro Granado, were on hand.
It’s probably just too hard of sell these days, trying to portray Chavez as anything other than an anti-business, anti-private property, anti-American socialist tyrant, a commie caudillo. From The Economist: “Towards state socialism: A wave of nationalisation promises scarcity and decline“:
OWNERS of property, large or small, sleep uneasily in Venezuela these days. After the opposition narrowly won a majority of the vote in a legislative election in September, Hugo Chávez, the country’s leftist president, has been on a nationalisation spree, seizing everything from steel companies and bottle makers to housing schemes. When workers have protested, he has deployed the national guard against them. The government has justified the confiscations by saying that it was breaking up monopolies or stopping breaches of labour or environmental rules. But the aim appears to be to move decisively against what Mr Chávez calls “the oligarchy” before the new parliament, which has a sizeable opposition minority, comes into session in January.
The government has nationalized 200 businesses already this year, including many American-owned operations. Meanwhile, Chavez just promoted a General who’s on the U.S. government’s black list for drugs and arms trafficking. The government’s involvement with the illegal drug trade appears extensive.
At a certain point, the Chavez regime may have concluded the PR/propaganda outreach was a waste of money. After you expropriate enough U.S. businesses, helping the poor in the United States just looks like giving away someone else’s stolen property.
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