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Hugo Chavez's Ace


The points made in both of these letters couldn't be more on target. One remains curious about why U.S. oil companies wouldn't take the blatantly political step of providing more low cost fuel for low and moderate income Americans. Such steps would be universally applauded here in the United States as a surprisingly generous act by companies normally thought of as being only interested in squeezing profits from people, regardless of their incomes. But the issue here is not social responsibility; it is the warped nature of a foreign policy that personalizes conflicts with foreign leaders to such a great extent, that everything -- even a hand of help extended to poor U.S. citizens suffering from low temperatures and high heating oil prices -- must be seen through the lens of the conflict, rather than judged on its own logic. Many people have already written comments to Caracas Connect showing vast disagreements about President Chavez and his policies, and those issues deserve to be debated. But come on! Wouldn't it be in the spirit of the season to wish the recipients of this largesse a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays rather than engaging in a mean-spirited and Scrooge-like display, just because the Bush Administration has such a vitriolic reaction to anything that President Chavez says or does? Rather than bah humbug, we say "well done."

New York Times
December 16, 2005

To the Editor:

Re "Hugo Chávez and His Helpers" (editorial, Dec. 10):

I agree that we need to compete successfully with President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela. What is his secret weapon? Helping the poor! How can we compete with him? Help the poor!

To the Editor:

You point out that President Hugo Chávez has used high oil prices "to increase funds for popular social programs for the poor, making him electorally unassailable." You note that this, among other factors, has led to a "dangerous concentration of power."

Click to read the full text of both letters


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