BOSTON, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- A Massachusetts charity run by Joseph P. Kennedy II received a heating oil donation from Venezuela.
The Boston Globe and other local newspapers reported it was the third annual donation of heating oil from Venezuelan-owned Citgo Petroleum Corp., worth about $25 million.
"Our government gets their panties in a knot much more than most Americans do about Hugo Chavez," Kennedy said.
He is founder of Citizens Energy and received criticism for accepting the donation but reportedly no other oil company would make a comparable donation.
"I know there's a lot of controversy about the fact that this oil ultimately comes from Citgo, from Venezuela and, yes, from Hugo Chavez. I'll never be in the tank to Hugo Chavez, but I'll tell you I wish we had a little more leadership in this country that has a concern for the poor and the disenfranchised as we do in other parts of the world," he said.
Citgo is a wholly owned subsidiary of PDVSA and will deliver 8.5 million gallons of home heating oil to 33,000 poor Massachusetts households and 60 homeless shelters, through Citizens Energy's hotline. The local donation will be part of a 23-state, 112 million-gallon contribution.
"I believe this is the biggest social program any oil company ever has done in this country," Citgo chief executive Alejandro Granado said. "Many people say we are doing politics, but life is politics. We are helping people. We are going to make sure that less people go to bed cold this winter."