A Thank You Note
by James Glaser
January 14, 2009

It has been a particularly cold winter so far, and heating your home up North can cost a lot. Old people, disabled people, any one on a fixed income can have a hard time staying warm when the mercury dips down below zero. Like so many things, people have to make choices. This winter in many homes, it is stay warm or eat. Maybe it is a choice between heating fuel and that new prescription.

For thousands of low income Americans there is help though, and it comes from a strange place—Caracas, Venezuela.

Even though President Bush has President Hugo Chavez on his list of bad people in the world, Chavez and his country are trying to keep the wolf away from the door of 180,000 American households. Venezuela and their national oil company have ponyed up about $260 dollars worth of heating oil for each of these low income American households, and on top of that they are helping 65 American Indian tribes.

When oil was selling for $126 a barrel in July, this helping hand was perhaps understandable, but now that same Venezuelan oil is selling for less that $40. Still, they are willing to help poor Americans keep warm this winter.

I don't know why Hugo Chavez is doing this for us. Many say it is for publicity. Others say that the people of Venezuela know what it is like to be poor, and that they are trying to help poor people all over the globe. To the people who are recipients of his charity, it really doesn't matter why Chavez and his country are helping. They are grateful, and I am sure they are wondering why Washington isn't helping them, too.

Remember, we still are the richest country on the globe. Being poor in the richest country is like being poor any where else. The separation from where you are to where the rich are is probably the same world wide. I don't know why Venezuela is helping our poor, but no matter why, I thank them.

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