NY Governor Sick of Chavez, Will Boycott Citgo
By Jeff McKay
September 22, 2006
(CNSNews.com) – Following another Bush-bashing by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, New York’s governor is so angry that he said he will personally boycott one of the Chavez government’s biggest revenue makers – the Citgo oil and gasoline company.
Republican George Pataki, a potential 2008 presidential candidate, said he has had more than enough with the Venezuelan leader bad mouthing the American commander-in-chief.
“This person has no right coming to our country to criticize our president. He can take his cheap oil and do something for the poor people of Venezuela,” said Pataki during an interview with Fox News.
When asked if he would patronize Citgo, the gas company owned by Petroleus de Venezuela, the state-run oil company, Pataki told Fox News, “I have no plans to.”
Pataki’s disgust of Chavez’s statements came after the Venezuelan president traveled from the United Nations headquarters in New York City to Harlem to speak at the Mount Olivet Baptist Church. Chavez announced an increase in the amount of low-cost home heating oil his government would send to the United States for low-income families.
Wearing his signature red shirt, Chavez was introduced to the crowd by actor-activist Danny Glover, who called Chavez “a visionary.” Before being whisked away in a limousine, Glover told reporters that he considers the Venezuelan leader “a friend” and “a brother”
As the crowd cheered, Chavez continued his personal attacks against Bush, this time calling the president “a sick man,” an “alcoholic,” and repeating his label of Bush as “the devil.” Chavez had first fired off that insult during a speech at the United Nations on Wednesday, a speech that drew applause and laughter from many international delegates in the audience.
Ordinarily one of President Bush’s harshest critics, New York Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel blasted Chavez for the remarks he made while speaking in Rangel’s congressional district.
“You don’t come into my country, you don’t come into my congressional district and criticize my president,” said an irate Rangel about Chavez’s comments, which included comparing Bush to John Wayne and mimicking Bush walking like a cowboy.
“It should be clear to all heads of government that criticism of Bush administration policies, either domestic or foreign, does not entitle them to attack the president personally,” said Rangel.
During his speech to the Harlem crowd, Chavez claimed that he was a friend to America and spoke of his strong alliance to Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
He also said the Citgo home heating oil program would benefit over 450,000 American families over the winter months and that it was made possible because the program cuts out what he calls a “greedy capitalist element.”
Chavez’s claims however come at a time when his support at home is waning. His popularity in Venezuela has hit a low of 30 percent, down from the 80 percent approval rating when he took over as his nation’s leader.
Despite Chevez’s pledge to help the poor using his nation’s vast oil wealth, Venezuela still suffers from chronic poverty, crime, kidnappings, and unemployment. The latter has been rated as high as 12 percent in a nation of 25 million people.
According to a report from the United Nations, Venezuela ranks first in the world in gun deaths per capita, and reports indicate homicides in Venezuela have doubled since 1999.
However, despite the problems Venezuela faces, Chavez still leads in polls for the nation’s upcoming presidential election.
Unintentionally, Chavez may have at least temporarily united Democrats and Republicans in their support of President Bush.
“Hugo Chavez is little more than a power-hungry autocrat on an anti-American public relations tour — a showboat whose speech to the United Nations was an embarrassment and an insult to the American people,” said Ohio’s John Boehner, the House majority leader, in a written statement.
“Hugo Chavez fancies himself a modern day Simon Bolivar, but all he is, is an everyday thug,” said House Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi during a press conference.
“I think Chavez would be much more effective if he would say something that’s true,” former President Bill Clinton said on CNN.