BOSTON – Citgo, the Venezuelan government’s US-based oil subsidiary, yesterday said it will continue shipments of heating oil to poor Americans — only two days after announcing it would suspend the program, citing falling oil prices.
Citgo CEO Alejandro Granado made the announcement here, saying Citgo had found a way to continue paying for the shipments.
“This is a big effort,” Granado said. “This is a sacrifice.”
Former Rep. Joseph Kennedy, head of the Boston-based nonprofit that distributes the fuel, said Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez intervened directly.
The program provides fuel for 200,000 households in 23 states, but has come under fire in the United States. Critics say it is a ploy by the leftist Chavez to undermine the Bush administration.
Kennedy said the decision to continue oil shipments was made “with direct involvement of President Chavez.”
When asked if he’d personally spoken to Chavez, Kennedy, the son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, said “I did what was necessary to keep this program going.”
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