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Venezuela expands oil discounts

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CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- Venezuela's Citgo Petroleum Corp. extended discounted sales of heating oil to Delaware yesterday, the company's latest effort to provide affordable fuel to low-income families in the United States.

Representatives of Citgo, a Houston subsidiary of Venezuela's state-run Petroleos de Venezuela SA, have said it plans to provide 55 million gallons of heating oil at a 40 percent discount this winter to low-income U.S. communities that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has accused Washington of neglecting.

Venezuela's information ministry announced yesterday that 1.15 million gallons would be available at the reduced rate to 5,000 low-income households in Delaware. Twenty homeless shelters will receive free heating fuel.

"The aid forms part of the social program implemented by Citgo in several American states as a result of the energy crisis in the United States," according to the Venezuelan statement.

Citgo Chief Executive Officer Felix Rodriguez said the discounted fuel would help poor families escape high energy costs during the cold winter months.

"We have heard horror stories of families forced to heat their homes with their stoves because they have no money for heating oil," Mr. Rodriguez said. "No one should be forced to sacrifice food, shelter or medicine to stay warm."

The program, which was introduced two months ago in Massachusetts, has covered at least 1 million persons, according to Venezuela's ambassador to the United States, Bernardo Alvarez.

Delaware joins Massachusetts, New York, Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont and Connecticut, which are already participating in the Citgo program. Mr. Alvarez said last week that New Jersey also has expressed interest.

The United States is the No. 1 buyer of Venezuelan oil despite frequent diplomatic disputes between Caracas and Washington.

Venezuela is the world's fifth-largest oil exporter.

I'm glad to see that at least someone cares about us. Coughs*Chavez and Venezuela*Coughs. Good job and thank you Venezuela :tu: . See now even Nagin has to look for help across the world. Specifically France. Cause Bush wont help him. Damn Bush and his admin. He doesnt care about oil prices and the poor. He'll let Iran raise the oil prices and the middle east countries too. And suffering people back here will have to be dealt with consequences from his boneheaded moves. See who says Venezuela is a threat or is an enemy to the US? Don't believe that crap that comes out of Bush's mouth or the pentagon and white house. Saying "Venezuela is a threat". LMAO. For Bush is the real enemy of this world and country.

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