Oil, Hugo Chavez, Venezuela
Unholy Trinity: CITGO, Kennedy, and International Terrorism
By William John Hagan
Saturday, December 3, 2005
In Massachusetts, an organization known as the Citizens Energy Corporation (CEC) provides low cost heating oil for the states disadvantaged each year. On the surface their mission seems laudable; however, the reality is far from valiant. This organization has been used for years by its Chairman, former Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II (son of the late US Senator and Attorney General, Robert F. Kennedy,) as both a tool for the implementation of his personal political aims and for Kennedys own personal financial enrichment. The CEC operates as a non-profit corporation but despite Kennedys personal wealth, which is reported to be in the millions of dollars, he receives compensation from his charitable endeavor of $400,000 a year based on CEC financial reports from 2003 (the last year upon which such reports were available).
When an individual already worth millions of dollars uses a tax-free organization and self-styled non-profit charity for personal financial gain it is outrageous; however, when he uses that same charity to undermine the foreign policy of his nation his actions become diabolical. Joseph Kennedy has recently announced that he solidified a deal with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to purchase 12 million gallons of heating oil from CITGO, the United States subsidiary of Venezuela's state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA, for 60 to 80 cents less than the current market price.
The primary purpose of this deal is not to help the poor of Massachusetts but to create a much needed public relations coup for the tyrannical Chavez, thereby undermining public support for the Bush Administrations efforts to, peacefully, bring about much needed reforms in Venezuela. Furthermore, it is clear that the executives of CEC, with their six- figure compensation packages, will benefit directly from the ability to purchase oil at below-market rates, from a nation that has directly supported terrorism and is presently working to destabilize democracy in South America.
Hugo Chavez has supported communist terrorists in Colombia, opposed free-trade agreements with neighboring countries, and referred to Saddam Hussein as "my brother". After the United States was attacked on September 11th, Chavez demonstrated his sympathy by stating, "The United States brought the attacks upon itself, for their arrogant imperialist foreign policy." Chavez has also been accused by a high ranking military defector from Venezuela, of transferring one million dollars to Osama bin Laden. As a direct result of this financial aid to Al Qaeda, the citizens action organization "Judicial Watch" has filed a $100 million dollar lawsuit against Hugo Chavez on behalf of the victims and survivors of September 11. The lawsuit alleges that Chavez provided material financial support and other assistance to the Al Qaeda terror network. In addition, Al Qaeda is reportedly to be presently operating a training camp on the Venezuelan island of Margarita.
Ironically, the vast financial power that Chavez welds, and uses, to support international terrorism abroad and political oppression within comes directly from his business dealings with United States oil traders such as Joe Kennedy. While Kennedy may be a small player in enriching Chavez and his anti-United States agenda, the people of the United States have become unwitting supporters of Chavez at the gas pumps. As stated earlier, CITGO is owned by the government of Venezuela. Seventy percent of Venezuelas oil sales are attributable, directly, to their dealings with the United States. Therefore, Chavezs policies are supported by the U.S. consumer each time they purchase gasoline from a CITGO station.
While men like Joe Kennedy may have no moral qualms about manipulating U.S. taxpayers money to subsidize tyrants like Hugo Chavez, or doing business with him, the good people of the United States ought to have plenty. Because CITGO has no monopoly on energy in the United States, there is no reason for any person to voluntarily purchase gasoline from a company that funnels its profits back to a nation that supports international terror. The people of this country, unlike Joe Kennedy, can do their part in the war against terror and the human rights abuses in Venezuela, by allowing their wallets to speak in their stead. The time has come for all good people, from all walks of life, to boycott the purchase of gasoline from CITGO, thus depriving Chavez of the U.S. dollars that he needs, and is using, to undermine our nations very security.
William John Hagan is a columnist for the Canada Free Press. His work has appeared in the Providence Journal, the Houston Home Journal, Freedom Today Magazine (UK), and World Net Daily. He can be reached at: William_Hagan@excite.com.