ALASKA'S BIG CHILL FOR CHAVEZ - AP:
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Desperately poor native villages are refusing an offer of free heating oil from Venezuela, despite the punishing winter cold looming.
The patriotic Alaskans are rejecting the offer on the principle that no foreigner has the right to call their president "the devil."
The heating oil was to come from the petroleum company controlled by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, President Bush's nemesis.
"Even though we're in economically dire straits, it was the right choice to make," said Justine Gunderson, administrator for the tribal council in the Aleut village of Nelson Lagoon.
Chávez offers heating oil to poor communities in the United States for one reason: public relations. His own country is suffering from poverty and he is busy running around the world proclaiming he is a humanitarian. He's like the mafia who makes sure the people in the neighborhood are taken care of so they won't rat them out, or the drug dealer in the inner city who pays fro grandma's surgery and takes care of the community so they won't turn him in.
And incredibly there are places in the U.S. -- including right here in New York City -- who are willing to be complicit in this little ploy. But not in Alaska (my home state).
And Chavez's "Bush is the devil" comment is hardly the only problem.
Chavez says: ''Some seek to rule the world relying on weapons and threats while others live in poverty." But chronic poverty and unemployment are still widespread in Venezuela, despite the country's oil wealth.
And ruling by weapons and threats? Look in the mirror.
In recent months, Venezuela has bought AK-47 assault rifles and military helicopters from Russia and patrol boats from Spain. Chavez has called to form a military coalition in opposition to the United States. (Other Latin countries rejected this idea, saying they failed to see the need).
Since he can't get traction in his own region, he pals around with Iran and Syria: "President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela received a hero's welcome...in Syria, where he said the two countries would 'build a new world'' free of domination by the United States and vowed to ''dig the grave of U.S. imperialism.'"
He has compared Israel's airstrikes in Lebanon to the Holocaust.
He attacked the U.S. after 9/11 accusing us of "fighting terror with terror" for invading Afghanistan.
He talks regularly of "defeating" America: ''No matter how strong the American empire becomes and no matter how much force it uses, it will be defeated,'' he said. ''We and Syria as well as other countries will be an army of tigers, struggling and strong.''
He comes to the U.S. and attacks the President, but if someone did that in his country, he'd throw them in jail.
Venezuela is hardly a military superpower...but they have oil money and clearly Chavez has the interest to partner with countries who are interested in harming the West.
And there is so much more. The Bronx and Harlem could take a page out of Alaska's book and reject Chavez's tainted offers of help.
Dated: Tuesday, October 10, 2006