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CITGO - The Consequence Of Words, The Power Of Action
In the last two and one-half months since Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez verbally assaulted President Bush and the United States during a speech at the United Nations, many Americans have taken to responding with their pocketbooks.
While standing at the main podium in the United Nations General Assembly hall, President Chavez said the following:
Excerpts from the CQ Transcripts Wire Wednesday, September 20, 2006; 12:28 PM
I think that the first people who should read this book are our brothers and sisters in the United States, because their threat is in their own house. The devil is right at home. The devil -- the devil, himself, is right in the house.
And the devil came here yesterday.
Yesterday, the devil came here. Right here. Right here. And it smells of sulfur still today, this table that I am now standing in front of.
Yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, from this rostrum, the president of the United States, the gentleman to whom I refer as the devil, came here, talking as if he owned the world. Truly. As the owner of the world.
I think we could call a psychiatrist to analyze yesterday's statement made by the president of the United States. As the spokesman of imperialism, he came to share his nostrums, to try to preserve the current pattern of domination, exploitation and pillage of the peoples of the world.
An Alfred Hitchcock movie could use it as a scenario. I would even propose a title: "The Devil's Recipe."
As Chomsky says here, clearly and in depth, the American empire is doing all it can to consolidate its system of domination. And we cannot allow them to do that. We cannot allow world dictatorship to be consolidated.
I have the feeling, dear world dictator, that you are going to live the rest of your days as a nightmare because the rest of us are standing up, all those who are rising up against American imperialism, who are shouting for equality, for respect, for the sovereignty of nations.
Our voice is an independent voice to represent the dignity and the search for peace and the reformulation of the international system; to denounce persecution and aggression of hegemonistic forces on the planet.
CHAVEZ (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): This is how Venezuela has presented itself. Bolivar's home has sought a nonpermanent seat on the Security Council.
Let's see. Well, there's been an open attack by the U.S. government, an immoral attack, to try and prevent Venezuela from being freely elected to a post in the Security Council.
The imperium is afraid of truth, is afraid of independent voices. It calls us extremists, but they are the extremists.
You know that my personal doctor had to stay in the plane. The chief of security had to be left in a locked plane. Neither of these gentlemen was allowed to arrive and attend the U.N. meeting. This is another abuse and another abuse of power on the part of the Devil. It smells of sulfur here, but God is with us and I embrace you all.
May God bless us all. Good day to you.
According to reports, business at many CITGO branded stations is down over 15%.
7-11 Stores has sought to distance itself from the CITGO brand.
Analysts don't expect anti-Chavez sentiment to have a lasting effect on CITGO’s bottom line, since gasoline consumers typically put price above principles.
But amid the backlash, the Houston company, last month, began running full-page ads in major newspapers touting its 4,000 U.S. employees, its program to provide discounted heating oil to needy Americans, and work on behalf of charitable causes, such as disaster relief and fighting muscular dystrophy.
CITGO won't discuss the campaign's cost, but says it's not an effort to repair any financial damage from a consumer backlash targeting more than 13,000 independently owned, CITGO-branded U.S. filling stations.
Image Credit: State of Florida via WIKIPEDIA
And now the state of Florida has begun an effort to undo it’s exclusive contract with CITGO to supply fuel to the Florida Turnpike (tollway).
Excerpts from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel –
CITGO dispute leads to turnpike posting signs about alternative fueling choices
By Erika Slife - South Florida Sun-Sentinel - Posted November 24 2006
In a response to a state legislator's concern about the exclusive contract Florida's Turnpike has with CITGO gas stations -- which are affiliated with Venezuela -- the state Department of Transportation says it will advertise other fueling options for motorists.
The action stems from a letter by Rep. Adam Hasner, R-Delray Beach, who raised the issue in September when Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called President Bush "the devil" during a speech at the United Nations. Hasner had asked state transportation officials to cancel CITGO’s contract to sell gas at turnpike service stations.
Image Credit: State of Florida via WIKIPEDIA
The exclusive contract with the CITGO operator doesn't expire until December 2008, according to an Oct. 31 response letter from Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Denver Stutler. In the meantime, the transportation department will use signs to inform motorists of alternative fueling options off the turnpike, the letter stated.
Transportation workers will begin installing the signs along the 312-mile tollway this winter, said Chad Huff, a spokesman for Florida's Turnpike. He did not know how much the signs will cost, or how many will be posted.
"The signs are being installed to allow customers to know what is available at those exits," Huff said.
CITGO Petroleum Corp., the U.S. subsidiary of Venezuela's state-run oil company, supplies fuel for the eight gas stations located along the 312-mile tollway.
Motorists who exit the turnpike to get gas will not be charged an additional toll to get back on.
"Florida taxpayers should not have to support an exclusive contract with CITGO and Hugo Chavez," said Hasner. "This goes back to the fact that I've been a leader in Tallahassee in the area of promoting energy independence and that's where this arises. It's my belief that we as a country and a state should not be dependent to countries that are hostile to us for our energy future."
CITGO has more than 13,000 independently owned and operated stations in the country. More than 1,400 are located in Florida, McCullom said. After Chavez made his remarks about Bush, calls were made to boycott the stations. Wheeler, meanwhile, said there has been "no significant change" in sales at the turnpike stations.
A spokesman for Jeb Bush said that the governor had already directed transportation officials to look for new fueling options for motorists.