Citgo Renews Cheap Heating Oil Program
It seems Chavez has been doing this for a few years now and was one of the first to donate to the Katrina victims also. I guess he is doing the same thing that we do to promote ourselves, donate to charitable functions and disasters.
Venezuela's Citgo Renews Cheap Heating Oil Program in United States
NEW YORK – Citgo, the U.S. subsidiary of state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela SA, renewed a program under which it has provided cheap heating oil to hundreds of thousands of U.S. low-income households since 2005.
Citgo CEO Alejandro Granado, whose company carries out the initiative in partnership with U.S. non-governmental organization Citizens Energy Corporation, told Efe Friday the goal this year is to benefit 200,000 families, the same number as last year.
This year’s program was kicked off with a symbolic ceremony at Riverside Church in Harlem, known for its key role in the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
Among those in attendance, in addition to Granado, were Venezuelan Ambassador to the United States Bernardo Alvarez and Citizens Energy’s founder and chairman, Joseph Kennedy.
Granado said 50,000 households and 39 shelters in New York City benefited from the initiative in 2009, adding that people’s need for heating-oil assistance is significantly higher in early 2010.
He noted that, according to reports in the New York City media, several million people will struggle to heat their homes this winter.
According to the executive, the program is being continued despite the global recession in 2009 because “it’s a commitment of the Venezuelan people and Citgo, grounded in principles of solidarity and cooperation. It’s more necessary now than ever.”
The program provides aid to needy families in the form of coupons that can used to purchase the heating oil.
Participants in the ceremony also expressed solidarity with the victims of this week’s catastrophic earthquake in Haiti, which officials there say claimed the lives of some 50,000 people and left 250,000 injured.
Granado said Citgo has begun a campaign to collect clothing and small transistor radios to send to the affected areas.
Oil-rich Venezuela launched the initiative in 2005 when the price of fuel rose in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and several U.S. senators called on oil companies to help low-income families adversely affected by the higher cost of heating oil.
Between 2005 and 2007, the number of families that benefited from the program in 23 states grew from 100,000 to 224,000, according to figures from the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington.
Citgo has also supported other social programs in the United States, such as the distribution of energy-efficient light bulbs to low-income homes in cities including Houston, Washington, Corpus Christi, Texas and Lake Charles, Louisiana.