Venezuela provides heating oil to New Yorkers in low-income area

Venezuela's government made its first delivery of discounted heating oil Tuesday to a New York City low-income housing development, part of a promise that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez made to provide oil directly to poor Americans.

A Citgo tanker truck pulled up to a snow-sprinkled block in New York City's Bronx neighborhood at a ceremony attended by the oil company's CEO Felix Rodriguez, Venezuelan Ambassador Bernardo Alvarez, U.S. Congressman Jose E. Serrano and housing development officials.

Citgo, the Houston-based refining subsidiary of Venezuela's state-owned oil company, will sell about 8 million gallons (30 million liters) of heating oil to three non-profit housing developments in New York for 40 percent less than its usual price through April 1, 2006.

Although New York City landlords, rather than tenants, generally pay for heat, the housing developments have agreed to pass along their savings to the tenants in the form of rent reductions or other benefits, the AP reports.

Chavez visited the Bronx in September, when he was in New York for the U.N. General Assembly, and expressed an interest in helping the low-income area. Venezuela has agreed to sell oil at a discount to residents in other U.S. cities, including Quincy, Massachussets. P.L.

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