Chavez’ Heating Program

William Fisher examines Hugo Chavez’ program to sell discounted heating oil to poor communities in the United States. On the merits, it’s hard to tell whether this program is a good idea or not—arguably Chavez could make better use of that money by spending it on poor communities in Venezuela—but it is true that all the sniping at Chavez from various corners of this country is, as Fisher puts it, “petty.” Whatever one might think of Chavez—hero of the oppressed or crazed authoritarian, take your pick (or both)—he’s in no sense a real security threat to the United States.

It’s also worth pointing out that if Republicans and others disapprove of Chavez trying to win friends and influence people by selling heating oil to the poor, they could always stop him by reversing the cruel and gratuitous budget cuts that have been leveled at LIHEAP, the federal low-income heating assistance program, over the past five years. Just a thought.


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.