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Venezuelan Oil Subsidies *LINK*

BOB ABERNETHY, anchor: Now, reverse foreign aid. Is there anything wrong about needy Americans accepting help from a foreign government, especially from a foreign leader much criticized by the U.S. government? The issue is alive in the often frigid Northeast, where the price of heating oil this winter has shot up, and one foreign-owned oil company is trying to help -- conspicuously. Lucky Severson begins his report on an Indian reservation in northern Maine.

LUCKY SEVERSON: It's very unusual to celebrate the arrival of heating oil in a part of the country where the price this year has already increased 50 cents a gallon and is expected to rise even more.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN (At Podium): I thank you all for coming here to our Penobscot Nation -- to our Indian Island.

SEVERSON: Indian Island is in northern Maine, where the winters are especially brutal. This event was meant as a "thank you" to the oil company CITGO for giving subsidized heating oil to four Maine Indian tribes. For the last few months, CITGO has been supplying oil at nearly half price to needy neighborhoods, homeless shelters, nursing homes, and schools throughout the Northeast.

This delivery is near Portland, Maine where, as in the rest of the country, fuel prices have soared. Last year a group of senators asked major oil companies to donate some of their record profits to reduce the heating costs for those in need. The only one to respond was CITGO, a company wholly owned by Venezuela, whose leftist leader Hugo Chavez is no friend of the Bush administration.

Trinidad and Tobago News

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