The CITGO sign is a Fenway landmark . Now Allston-Brighton City Councilor Jerry P. McDermott also has stepped to the plate, urging the replacement of Fenway’s iconic Citgo sign with an in-your-face American flag to demonstrate Chavez is the consummate “el diablo.” The sign, with its five miles of neon tubes, is owned by Citgo Oil, a Venezuelan subsidiary, and has withstood five hurricanes with winds over 80-miles-an-hour, but will it survive the political bluster?
Action Needed To Reduce Dependence On Foreign Oil
By Greg O’Brien, Codfish Press
The devil made him do it! Or was it politics? Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, facing reelection in December and a vote next month for a Latin American seat on the U.N. Security Council, was in full sulfuric gush himself last week when he attacked George Bush, bringing down a holy hell of vitriolic rebuffs from Democrats and Republicans in the throes of mid-term elections that may rest on who is perceived as most patriotic—a term to be defined by the final count.
Not-ready-for-primetime Chavez, a “Caracas crackpot,” as the New York Post intoned, called President Bush “the devil” in a speech last Wednesday before the United Nations, making a sign of the cross that must have had Michael the Archangel at Defcon Five. Legions of Republicans and Democrats have responded with predictable election year hyperbole, outdoing one another with superlatives. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi has called Chavez “an everyday thug,” and New York Gov. George Pataki has given this anthropoid the Bronx rush, suggesting he “start giving some of the rights you’ve abused here in New York to the people of Venezuela.”
Allston-Brighton City Councilor Jerry P. McDermott also has stepped to the plate, urging the replacement of Fenway’s iconic Citgo sign with an in-your-face American flag to demonstrate Chavez is the consummate “el diablo.” The sign, with its five miles of neon tubes, is owned by Citgo Oil, a Venezuelan subsidiary, and has withstood five hurricanes with winds over 80-miles-an-hour, but will it survive the political bluster? A former CIA counter-terrorism agent and Army Special Forces commander has now engaged with predictable off-the-mark incoming—targeted at his opponent in the 10th District congressional race, five-term incumbent William Delahunt. Republican contender Jeff Beatty, in a stretch that would challenge even Kevin Youkilis, has accused Delahunt of consorting with the enemy. Delahunt, a member of the House International Relations Committee, brokered a critical first-in-the-nation deal with Chavez and Citgo last November to distribute 12 million gallons of discounted home heating oil to low-income residents of Massachusetts, individuals at risk in the chill of a bitter winter. Delahunt has condemned Chavez’s U.N. remarks, but has insisted, as he should, that he will pursue discounted Venezuelan oil for the needy. No other oil companies to date have responded. “President Chavez’s remarks were singularly inappropriate,” Delahunt said in a statement. “Americans and Venezuelans alike seek a better future, and expect our leaders to help illuminate the way, not to wallow in personal attacks.”
Lost in the debate is the real devil here—the fact that this nation has no thoughtful energy policy to reduce our reliance on foreign oil, an omission that requires our dependence on oil-rich despots that wouldn’t otherwise make our short list of dinner invitations. Major U.S. oil companies, meanwhile, continue consuming record profits, as much in some cases as $100 million a day, with little appetite for assisting those in need.
The devil is in the details, and the particulars here point to politics and profit, as usual.