Monday, October 09, 2006

The Aleut teach Hugo Chavez a lesson

The world may not yet be flat, but Hugo Chavez has exploited our internal divisions and his own resources to assail the policies of George W. Bush. Chavez has long stated that the Bush administration was behind a coup attempt in 2002. The matter is not resolved. In recent years, the cost of oil has increased Chavez's leverage in the region. Chavez has also sought out sympathetic regimes in Cuba and Bolivia, and he has tried to promote potential allies in other countries. He has made a strange partnership with Tehran also. Many experts declare that nation-state bonds will diminish in priority compared to other links and fueled by the Internet. In his reduced-cost oil programs, Chavez has used the politics of leaders in New England and New York to comment on the policies of Bush, with cheap oil as the key to the door.

It is very interesting, with all this in mind, that a Native American tribe has refused cheap heating oil to protest recent actions by Hugo Chavez, CNN:
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- In Alaska's native villages, the punishing winter cold is already penetrating the walls of the lightly insulated plywood homes, many of the villagers are desperately poor, and heating-oil prices are among the highest in the nation.

And yet a few of the small communities want to refuse free heating oil from Venezuela, on the patriotic principle that no foreigner has the right to call their president "the devil."

The heating oil is being offered by the petroleum company controlled by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, President Bush's nemesis. While scores of Alaska's Eskimo and Indian villages say they have no choice but to accept, others would rather suffer.

"As a citizen of this country, you can have your own opinion of our president and our country. But I don't want a foreigner coming in here and bashing us," said Justine Gunderson, administrator for the tribal council in the Aleut village of Nelson Lagoon. "Even though we're in economically dire straits, it was the right choice to make."

Nelson Lagoon residents pay more than $5 a gallon for oil -- or at least $300 a month per household -- to heat their homes along the wind-swept coast of the Bering Sea, where temperatures can dip to minus-15. About one-quarter of the 70 villagers are looking for work, in part because Alaska's salmon fishing industry has been hit hard by competition from fish farms.

The donation to Alaska's native villages has focused attention on the rampant poverty and high fuel prices in a state that is otherwise awash in oil -- and oil profits. In 2005, 86 percent of the Alaska's general fund, or $2.8 billion, came from oil from the North Slope.

The Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association, a native nonprofit organization that would have handled the heating oil donation on behalf of 291 households in Nelson Lagoon, Atka, St. Paul and St. George, rejected the offer because of the insults Chavez has hurled at Bush.
It would be nice if the United States government, or a NGO, were to do something to help the Aleut as well as acknowledge their patriotism.


Anonymous mccain said...

Thanks for posting on the Alaska thing. I can't get trackbacks to work here, so I'll post it in the comments if that is okay:

Eskimos to Chavez: Shove it up your gas

2:35 PM  

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