"Venezuelan mischief-maker Hugo Chavez is back on the Alaska scene with another offer of discounted fuel for the state's predominantly Native communities. In the past, villages that accept the offer, made through Venezuela's national oil company Citgo, have been called unpatriotic, since Chavez is notorious for his anti-Americanism.
To which we say, "Any port in a storm."
Rural Alaska communities had to fill up their fuel tanks for the entire winter just when oil prices were peaking at about $140 a barrel. Residents are stuck with those high-cost fuel supplies for an entire six- to eight-month winter. They will not enjoy any of that $2-a-gallon decrease that Alaskans on the road system have seen in the past couple of months. In Bush Alaska, prices of $5 to even $10 a gallon are locked in until summer.
Under those circumstances, no Alaskan should fault another for taking advantage of any fuel assistance that might come their way. And the "unpatriotic" charge is especially offensive to Native villagers, who are justifiably proud of their high rates of service in the National Guard and other branches of the military.
Some villages may, on principle, spurn the help from this anti-American source. They should be lauded for that honorable and economically self-sacrificing stand.
But villages that take aid from Hugo Chavez's Citgo should not be condemned."
Get the Story:
Our view: Aid from Chavez
(The Anchorage Daily News 11/29)
Venezuela's Chavez offers heat to villages
(The Anchorage Daily News 11/28)