Chavez: US heating oil program never suspended
Despite earlier allegations against the Venezuela social assistance to the American poor, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez confirmed the heating oil programme was never suspended. «They are speculating on all sides that Venezuela has suspended its program of cooperation with the poor of the United States,»
2009-01-11 01:28:02 - CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - President Hugo Chavez said Saturday that Venezuela's program to provide heating oil to poor American families was never halted, despite concerns that deliveries might be interrupted. Venezuela's Citgo Petroleum Corp. had to make a public announcement that the aid would continue after its partner nonprofit group said Citgo stopped the free fuel shipments because of the world economic crisis. «They are speculating on all sides that Venezuela has suspended its program of cooperation with the poor of the United States,» Chavez said. «No, it was never suspended. Chavez did not address whether oil shipments were ever interrupted. Boston-based Citizens Energy Corp. _ a charity organization run by Joseph Kennedy, the eldest son of late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy _ on Monday alerted households benefiting from the four-year-old program that oil shipments were in doubt. At a news conference, however, Kennedy said Citgo made it clear the decision was not a cancellation of the program. «But at the end of the day, the tankers are not going to be in front of this building,» he said. Citgo Chief Executive Alejandro Granado later said in Boston that the company had found a way to continue paying for oil shipments. On Saturday, Chavez poked fun at analysts who said he was cutting the assistance to make relations difficult with President-elect Barack Obama, saying they made him laugh. «They build this analysis on a lie,» he said.