In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when the USA made an unprecedented request for international aid because she couldn't cope by herself with the catastrophe in the New Orleans region, Venezuela and Cuba were among the first to offer substantial aid to support Katrina's victims.
Ungraciously but predictably, the US rejected the offers of those socialist countries – for the Bush Administration, cold war ideology reigned supreme over compassion or considerations for its own victimised citizens.
But a man like Hugo Chavez, the Venezuela's President, who loves to make flamboyant gestures on the world’s stage, apart from being the fiery Latino that he indeed is, has once again succeeded in irritating the Bush Administration.
Chavez has circumvented the diplomat impasse with his own plans to supply cheap fuel to thousands of poor residents of Boston and New York through his US registered company, Citgo Petroleum Corporation. Chavez is talking about some 45 million litres of oil or more, at 40 per cent below market prices.
The London Telegraph said that “the deal is one of the most spectacular moves yet in Mr Chavez's attempt to market his 21st-century socialism using his country's oil wealth.”
Well, I say good on him.
Chavez’s decision has pissed off many in Washington, presumably those in the Bush Administration. I wonder why, because if a person like the Ayatollah wants to give cheap oil to my country, hey, he’s most welcome to do so.
Meanwhile Joe Kennedy, the chairman of the US' Citizens Energy, one of the organisations that Chavez has nominated to distribute the oil, said Chavez’s offer reflected on the failure of US oil companies and the Bush Administration to help the people. He said:
"Our government has made billions of dollars just this year on the royalty payments the oil companies pay to the Government. But when it is a question of poor Americans, what do we hear from Washington? Sorry boys. There's no money in the till."
Chavez has also been giving away cheap oil and refineries to his neighbours like Cuba, and pledged financial support for regional development programs.
Out of spite, the US warned Spain that it would block the latter’s sale of ships and aircraft to Venezuela, with the usual bullshit about those arms destabilising the region. But when it suits the Americans, it will sell hi-tech arms to Pakistan and India, two antagonists who had already gone through 3 wars.