Low-cost heating oil is about to start flowing to the South Bronx under Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's fuel-for-the-poor program.
Three Bronx groups will announce today an agreement with Citgo, the U.S. subsidiary of Venezuela's national oil company, to receive heating oil shipments this winter at 40% below wholesale price.
As soon as he heard about the Chavez offer two months ago, Belle contacted his local congressman, Jose Serrano (D-South Bronx), who has spearheaded talks with the Venezuelan government over the program.
"We anticipate a savings of between $300,000 and $400,000 in our fuel costs for the winter," Belle said. "From a practical standpoint, it's a great program."
Unlike a similar program that Citgo launched last month in Massachusetts for thousands of low-income homeowners, the Bronx version targets apartment buildings run by nonprofit groups.
That's because Chavez doesn't want private landlords to pocket the fuel savings.
According to Serrano, Citgo officials insisted that all fuel contracts stipulate how individual residents would benefit.
"We're going to take a portion of the savings and pass it on to each tenant as a credit on their monthly rent," Belle said.
and the kicker:
And that leads us to the big question: If Chavez and Citgo can forgo a small portion of Venezuela's windfall oil profits to make life a little easier for America's poor, what are our own oil companies and our leaders in Washington doing?(emphasis mine)
Damn Chavez, and his "helping the poor", and "foregoing a profit." Bastard.