The Bush administration motivates our neighbors to the south to help low-income U.S. residents pay for heating:
Chavez Pushes Petro-Diplomacy High Oil Profit Leads to Venezuela's Plan to Subsidize Heating in United States, by Justin Blum, Washington Post: ...Citgo Petroleum Corp., a company controlled by the Venezuelan government of President Hugo Chavez, a nettlesome adversary of the United States who has accused the Bush administration of plotting to assassinate him and invade his oil-rich country... is planning to announce today that it will provide discounted heating oil this winter to many low-income residents of Massachusetts... The company also plans to offer similar aid in New York. ... The populist South American president would relish being able to show that Venezuela, far less wealthy than the United States, had come to the rescue of low-income people here. ... This is the second time in recent months that Chavez has used oil to tweak the United States... In September, Venezuela made a very public announcement about diverting shipments of gasoline to the United States to help prevent shortages after hurricanes Katrina and Rita... The assistance might be viewed as altruistic by the United States, if not for the history of tension between the Bush administration and Chavez. In a September appearance at the United Nations, Chavez attacked the Bush administration for not doing more for the poor residents of New Orleans... He also said the United States was abetting "international terrorism" because it failed to arrest the Rev. Pat Robertson for saying that the United States should consider assassinating Chavez. ... Chavez ... concerns U.S. officials because he has repeatedly threatened to cut off oil shipments. Venezuela is one of the largest suppliers to the United States, providing about 1.5 million barrels a day of oil and oil products. Chavez has been seeking new markets for his oil, including energy-hungry China. ... The Venezuelan government said the oil-related initiatives ... are for humanitarian purposes and regional unity. ... Fadi Kabboul, minister-counselor for petroleum affairs ... [said] "Venezuela never used oil as a political weapon. Venezuela is not going to use oil against the U.S. as a political weapon for anything."