Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez is an ally of the Iranian mullahs, a supporter of North Korea, a close friend of Fidel Castro and a good customer for Vladimir Putin's weapon factories. Now he's also a business partner of Joseph P. Kennedy II.Is it just me or does anyone find it even the least bit unnerving when you have members of the Democrat Party openly dealing with a man whose stated goal is the destruction of this country?
The former Democratic Congressman describes the deal he's cooked up with Mr. Chavez as charity for low-income consumers of heating oil. But it's worth asking what the price of this largesse is to Venezuelans and to U.S. security interests.
The arrangement is this: Mr. Chavez's Citgo--a Houston-based oil company owned by the Venezuelan government--is supplying home heating oil to Mr. Kennedy's Citizens Energy Corporation at a 40% discount. Citizens, a nonprofit outfit, says it passes the savings onto the poor, aiming to help 400,000 homes in 16 states that would otherwise have trouble heating their homes. In the process, Mr. Kennedy happens to get a high-profile publicity plug. If you think you qualify, says the television ad that drew our attention to this partnership, just dial 1-877-Joe-4-Oil.
Generous Joe is not the only one polishing his public image here. In the mold of the Castro strategy of sending armies of "doctors" and "teachers" among the Latin American poor, Mr. Chavez is trying to shape U.S. public opinion in the hope that more gringos will come to see the Chavez government as benevolent.
Massachusetts Democrats seem especially eager to help. In a September 29, 2005, "confidential memorandum" addressed to "President Hugo Chavez" and uncovered by a Congressional committee, William Delahunt (D., Mass.) gushed that it was a "pleasure" to have met with the strongman "to discuss your generous offer." The Democrat advised Mr. Chavez to steer his oil through Mr. Kennedy's nonprofit and declared that "from a public relations perspective" the discount oil scheme "is an extraordinary opportunity to address urgent needs of people living in poverty, while showcasing the compassion of your nation."
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