Chicago, September 4, 2005—Felix Rodriguez, the CEO and President of CITGO Petroleum Corporation, the subsidiary of Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PDVSA, announced on Saturday that Venezuela’s President Chavez had decided to donate an additional $1 million, via CITGO, to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
The announcement was made during a joint press conference with Rev. Jesse Jackson, Martin Sanchez, Venezuela’s Consul General in Chicago, and Chicago religious leaders in the headquarters of Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the group that Jackson leads.
This new offer is in addition to the one million that Venezuela had pledged last Monday, which comes with medical and rescue equipment and personnel.
“The President called me and told me to provide one million dollars more,” said Rodriguez.
“CITGO is a Venezuelan company and President Chavez told us that we should speak with one voice during this lamentable tragedy that is affecting the people in the U.S. South,” added Rodriguez.
CITGO also opened a shelter for refugees of the hurricane in Corpus Christi, Texas, which will hold 2,500.
Jackson thanks Venezuela
Rev. Jackson thanked President Chavez and the CEO of CITGO for the offer of help.
“Venezuela has offered help that until now has not been accepted. For example, they offered 66,000 barrels of oil per day during the winter for poor citizens of our country… until now no receptiveness has been shown towards the offer,” said Jackson.
“President Chavez also offered, to help with the crisis [caused by hurricane Katrina], one million dollars, two mobile medical units capable of attending to 150 persons each, ten water purifying plants, eight electricity generators with a capacity of 850 kilo watts each, 20 tons of bottled drinking water, 50 tons of canned food, which until now have not been accepted,” said Jackson.
Last Thursday Rev. Jackson and Felix Rodriguez visited the refugees that are being sheltered to in CITGO installations in Lake Charles and presented Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco Venezuela’s offer of help.
“Until now there has been no response,” added Jackson.
Earlier in the week, when asked about Venezuela’s offer of help, U.S. government spokespersons said that unsolicited support can be counter-productive. Nonetheless, later, the Assisstant Secretary for Western Hemispheric Affairs, Roger Noriega, said on Voice of America that Venezuelan help would be accepted, just as the help from other countries.
Venezuela Also Offers One Million Barrels of Gasoline
Venezuela’s President Chavez announced that Venezuela would provide one million barrels of gasoline to the U.S. to assist with the catastrophe caused by hurricane Katrina. Chavez made the announcement today, during his weekly television program Aló Presidente, during a phone conversation with CITGO President Felix Rodriguez.
Rodriguez informed Chavez that CITGO’s Louisiana Refinery in Lake Charles had not been affected by hurricane Katrina. In fact, Rodriguez said, CITGO increased its refining activity to respond to the gasoline shortage.
AFP reports that U.S. oil production in the Gulf of Mexico had dropped 80% as a result of the hurricane.