Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Oh, Man, Look Who's Turning the Other Cheek!

Venezuela offers fuel, food to hurricane-hit US

(no joke -- check it out here)

CARACAS (AFP) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez offered to send food and fuel to the United States after the powerful Hurricane Katrina pummeled the US south, ravaging US crude production.

The leftist leader, a frequent critic of the United States and a target himself of US disapproval, said Venezuela could send aid workers with drinking water, food and fuel to US communities hit by the hurricane.

"We place at the disposition of the people of the United States in the event of shortages -- we have drinking water, food, we can provide fuel," Chavez told reporters.

Chavez said fuel could be sent to the United States via a Citgo refinery that has not been affected by the hurricane. Citgo is owned by Venezuela's state-owned oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).

In the Gulf of Mexico, which accounts for a quarter of total US oil output, 92 percent of crude and 83 percent of natural gas production were shut down due to Hurricane Katrina, which slammed Louisiana and Mississippi, according to US government data.

Venezuela is the fourth-largest provider of oil to the United States, supplying some 1.5 million barrels a day.

Last week, Chavez offered discount gasoline to poor Americans suffering from high oil prices and on Sunday offered free eye surgery for Americans without access to health care.

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