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Friday, February 8, 2008

Chavez Wins the Hearts But Looses Against Big Oil

Less than two weeks ago, I posted THIS post about Hugo Chavez urging Latin American countries to pull their assets out of US banks and that the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) will have its own financial institution three months from now to boost regional development projects. Watching this development I had to wonder, what is the US and their oil interests based in Venezuela going to pull out of their hats to try to put a halt to these various moves of Chavez's (short of overthrowing him) because let's face it, anytime another country attempts to exert their own rights as a nation, our business interests do SOMETHING to try to put a halt to it.

In this case, it's a striking blow dealt by Exxon Mobile, who rather than attempting to negotiate with the Venezuelan government, fought them in court.

World courts freeze more than $12 billion of PDVSA assets worldwide

Heavy oil upgrader in Jose, Venezuela

CARACAS Feb. 8, 2008

Exxon Mobil Corp. secure courts orders from United States courts, and United Kingdom courts and courts in the Netherlands and Netherlands Antilles against Venezuela oil company PDVSA's assets and its subsidiaries, freezing more than $12 billion in worldwide assets
, according to documents filed in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, international news agencies reported on Thursday.

Exxon Mobil as it prepares to dispute a multibillion-dollar arbitration case with the World Bank seeking compensation on the nationalization by the Venezuelan government of a multi-billion dollar Cerro Negro- OCN heavy oil upgrader project in Venezuela, secure a U.K. court order freezing up to $12 billion of world wide assets belonging to Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA and its subsidiaries and according to documents filed in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, also secured a decision to freeze about $300 million in cash held by PDVSA, in the U.S.

READ FURTHER>>>>>>>>>>>

Ironically, only a few articles separated this article below. I wonder how many poor people or Native Americans Exon Mobile has helped lately. With their record profits and their CEO's exorbitant salaries, I doubt any.

Eddie One Star of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe dances Thursday during a ceremony of thanks honoring Venezuelan-owned CITGO Petroleum and Citizens Energy Corp. for heating assistance grants that have warmed Native American homes in need this winter throughout the country. (Kristina Barker, Journal staff)

Tribes express gratitude for gift of winter warmth

Venezuelan-owned CITGO Petroleum donated heating assistance

The nuances of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez' stormy relationship with the United States means nothing to Iyonne Garreau of Eagle Butte.

Garreau, 75, is not interested in the critical scrutiny that swirls around Venezuelan-owned CITGO Petroleum and its partnership with Citizens Energy Corp., which this year alone funneled $21 million in heating assistance into 220 tribal communities in 13 states.

What matters to Garreau is that the $267 in heating assistance she received from CITGO bought her about 133 gallons of propane to heat her home.

"My, was I ever happy. I was really, really so thankful," Garreau said. "If I had a direct line, I'd sure thank them with a letter or something."

Speaking for hundreds of people like Garreau, tribal representatives from throughout the United States gathered Thursday at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel to extend their appreciation to the Venezuelan people and Citizens Energy Corp. for the help that arrived at a critical point in the winter.

The president of CITGO Petroleum, Alejandro Granado, Citizens Energy Corp. chairman Joseph P. Kennedy II and the ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Bernardo Alvarez, were honored by music and dance and showered with gifts.

Founded by Kennedy in 1979, Citizens Energy Corp. is a nonprofit agency that funnels profits from commercial ventures into charitable programs.

CITGO was the only major oil company and Venezuela the only OPEC nation that responded three years ago when Kennedy sought discounted fuel oil to help low-income American families with winter heating bills.

The first year, CITGO provided discounted home heating oil. Since then, the program has expanded to include direct financial assistance, with much of that going to Native American tribes.

Winter heating-assistance funds from the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program were exhausted when CITGO sent $400,400 to the Turtle Mountain Band of the Chippewa Indians, according to tribal Chairman David Brien of Belcourt, N.D. This was the first year his tribe has received the funds.

"It was 40 below zero," Brien said. "It was zero, and the winds were blowing 23 miles per hour."

The CITGO dollars helped many families coping with energy costs that are double what they were a year ago, he said.

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Chairman Joe Brings Plenty said 570 homes on the Cheyenne River reservation benefited from the $470,000 CITGO sent his people.

"During one of the coldest winters in the past eight years, and at a time of the greatest need, Citizens Energy, CITGO and the people of Venezuela came through," Brings Plenty said.

This is the second year that CITGO has provided energy assistance for Native Americans.

"So many tribes of people from all over the U.S. have come together because of us and this program," Ambassador Alvarez said. "It's a great experience and a lot of help that is truly needed."

The ambassador challenged others, including the oil companies, to join Venezuela and CITGO in helping low-income people with the most basic of human needs: a warm home.

"We are giving a significant amount, but it's not enough," he said.

The impact of escalating fuel costs on low-income Americans is being ignored, according to Kennedy, a nephew of President John F. Kennedy and the son of Robert Kennedy.

"No one is talking about it nationally," he said. "No one is having this conversation." (SOURCE)

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