Friday, May 05, 2006

Did Chavez give illegal campaign contributions to democrats?

OK, That's a catchy title. Let's connect the dots. First, from the AP via SeattlePI:

MANAGUA, Nicaragua -- Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Norman Caldera has asked Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to butt out of his country's political affairs after Chavez signed a favorable oil pact with dozens of leftist Nicaraguan mayors.

Peru and a Mexican presidential candidate also have recently accused Chavez of interfering in internal affairs.

Chavez agreed last month to ship 10 million barrels of fuel a year at preferential prices to 51 Nicaraguan communities, many of them allied with the party of Sandinista presidential candidate Daniel Ortega. He also made a donation of 10,000 tons of urea to Sandinista farming organizations, Caldera said.
On Saturday, Peru withdrew its ambassador from Venezuela to protest what it called Chavez's "persistent and flagrant" interference in politics.

The story goes on to cite many instances where Chavez used oil, and the money raised by the nationalization of oil companies in his country, to favor leftist politicians and help their campaigns in Nicaragua, Peru, and Mexico.

Of course, this could never happen in the United States, because our election laws prohibits campaign help from foreign governments. Or could it? From the Portland Press Herald:

WASHINGTON — Venezuela will expand its discounted oil program for poor New Englanders next winter under a politically sensitive new deal brokered by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, U.S. Rep. William Delahunt, D-Mass., and former Massachusetts congressman Joseph Kennedy.
U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., also participated in the session with Chavez, said Delahunt.

But this is nothing like those other deals:

A hidden agenda? You people know we don't have one," Chavez said Monday in Venezuela.

And where was this cheap oil sold? Throughout America? Think again:

Houston-based Citgo Petroleum Corp., a subsidiary of Venezuela's state-owned oil company, had discount heating oil programs last winter in Massachusetts, New York, Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, Delaware and the Philadelphia area.

Citgo provided nearly 151 million litres of discounted oil for some 181,000 households and hundreds of homeless shelters, according to the company.

There are of course a lot more than 181,000 homes in that area. It seems the oil was delivered to areas that were heavily democratic, although there isn't a lot of information given. Obviously Philadelphia is about the most heavily democratic part of Pennsylvania. And what happened to New Hampshire?

This service was supplied through Citgo, a company owned by Venezuela. Notably, while Citgo is one of the big-5 oil companies, and it's gas is as expensive as every other company's gas, you won't hear the name "Citgo" from democrats attacking the oil companies for their "price gouging".

Instead, Citgo gets singled out for praise:

“This is a moment for other oil companies to emulate what Citgo is doing,” Mr. Delahunt said. “You can just imagine what their profits will look like at the end of this quarter. Now is the time for Big Oil to stand up and do it.”

If Chavez was simply being charitable, he'd sell his oil for less to drive the price down -- he has direct control over a considerable supply of oil. But while the democrats demonize American oil companies, many of whom are net importers of foreign oil purchased on the open market, they meet with, cut deals with, and praise a man as responsible as anyone for the high prices we are now paying at the pump.

Because it isn't about the high price of gas -- it's about taking back power by any means necessary. If that means coddling brutal foreign dictators driving up the price of gas, well, for the democrats that a true win-win situation. Democrats don't want gas prices low, they want the issue.

If the Democrats really wanted lower gas prices, they would stop blocking oil exploration, allow the integration of state and federal regulations to speed up approval of new refineries (a measure they blocked last week), and instead of praising Chavez, they would use their bond of common philosophy to persuade him to pump more oil and stop making threats which spook the oil markets and force up the price we all pay.

Since however they want to win in November first and foremost, they will do NONE of these things. Anybody have a good quote of a democrat calling Chavez evil for his support of high oil prices, please post it here.

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