Venezuela offers to extend cheap heating oil program to Europe

May 13, 2006 02:00 AM

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who sold almost 40 mm gallons of discounted heating oil to the US last winter, said he'd extend the program to Europe in a gesture to help the needy.
Venezuela, which has refining capacity in Germany and the UK, will hear suggestions on which groups should benefit from the discounted oil, Chavez said, speaking to an audience of socialist activist groups in Vienna after a summit of European and Latin American leaders.

“I want to ask for your help so that here in Europe we try the same” as in the US, Chavez said. “I want to offer our modest support to the poorest people that may not have the resources to ensure they have winter heating.”
About 181,000 households and hundreds of homeless shelters in eight US states participated in the US program run by Citgo Petroleum, the US retailing unit of state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela.

Flanked by Bolivian President Evo Morales, Chavez heaped insults on the government of President George W. Bush, saying Americans were living under a dictatorship and that US foreign policy could lead to another world war.
“We have to confront the empire and denounce it,” he said. “The US empire is coming to an end.”
He renewed pledges to use cash reserves bolstered by high oil prices to help support other Latin American countries, including Bolivia, through cheap financing rather than investing it in US or European banks.

Source: Bloomberg
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