Although former U.S. Congressman, Joseph Kennedy III has been criticized for his Citgo commercial last year promoting discount heating oil provided by the Hugo Chavez Venezuelan government as a PR ploy, his latest commercial goes way beyond mere syrupy praise. Kennedy is now using the most recent Citgo commercial as a launchpad to blast the U.S. government and "Big Oil" as you can see in this video. After an introduction similar to the previous commercial showing poor people suffering from the cold, Kennedy goes on the attack:
...Yet our own government cut fuel assistance. And the Big Oil companies with oil and money to burn all said "no" when we asked for help. All but one. Citgo. Owned by the Venezuelan people, is donating millions of gallons to non-profit Citizens Energy...
Actually Citgo is owned by the Chavez run Venezuelan government, not the "people." As for the Venezuelan people themselves, it turns out their plight is getting even worse under the corruption ridden Chavez government. This widespread corruption has even been recognized in the the latest issue of the liberal New Republic. Alvaro Vargas Llosa has this to say about life under Chavez in Slum Lord:
After an extensive visit to the slums of this capital, I am convinced that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez lost the recent referendum that would have extended the time he could remain in office not because his countrymen value democracy so much, but because his social programs are crumbling. In the barrios of Petare, Catia, Baruta and other places, the nationalist/populist model is collapsing.
Through a network of "missions," the government has been using oil revenue to provide food, housing, cars, education and health care for millions of Venezuelans. In theory, Venezuelans are enjoying the "social justice" denied to them during decades of rule by the country's elites. In real life, the missions are plagued with corruption and inefficiency, and are severely hampered by the insecurity and the shortages that have become the hallmark of Venezuelan society.
...Corruption has eroded the prestige of the Habitat mission through which the government supposedly dishes out checks to poor Venezuelans so they can buy a house. It is not unusual for an aspiring homeowner to find out that a mystery person has cashed the check using his or her name. "The same people who hand out the checks cash them for the benefit of their relatives," explains Eladio, who told me a nephew recently suffered such an experience.
..."The government led Venezuelans to believe that they could become a consumer society without producing anything," says Luis Ugalde, the president of Andres Bello University, "and the results are now speaking for themselves."
When I asked Beatriz, a social worker who spends her time in Catia, to talk to me about Chavez's missions, she responded, "One cannot speak about that which doesn't exist." That strikes me as an appropriate way to sum up Venezuela's nationalist/populist model.
Perhaps Joe Kennedy needs to personally speak to the Venezuelan people he loudly touts on his Citgo commercials to find out for himself what life is actually like for them down there. Somehow I don't think they are too happy with the idea that Chavez is wasting their oil on PR gimmicks to ingratiate himself with American leftists like Kennedy while life for the average person in Venezuela continues to deteriorate.