. November 23, 2005 SouthAmerica: Here is President Hugo Chavez response to George W. Bush's Insults. **** Bloomberg News âVenezuela's Chavez to Discount Heating Oil in Bostonâ Nov. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has begun a program of discounted heating fuel sales for low-income customers in Boston, following up on promises to help the poor throughout the Americas. The fuel will be sold for 60 cents to 80 cents less than prevailing retail prices, according to Felix Rodriguez, president of Citgo Petroleum Corp., the U.S. refining and marketing business owned by Venezuela's state oil company. Citgo will sell 12 million gallons of fuel through two nonprofit groups, he said. ``Oil companies have to help people,'' Rodriguez said at a ceremony in Boston that was carried on state television in Caracas. ``Business isn't our only issue.'' With these sales, Chavez is jumping into a debate that has raged in Washington over what oil companies and the government should do to help consumers hurt by record fuel prices. Chiefs of the biggest U.S. oil companies were asked earlier this month at a Senate hearing to justify their record earnings, and lawmakers have said oil profits should go to fund home heating aid. Chavez, who led the opposition to the free trade agreement that President George W. Bush offered at a summit in Argentina this month, pledged in August to help Americans cope with rising energy costs. ``We want to help the poorest communities in the U.S.,'' Chavez said. ``There are people who die from the cold in winter in the U.S.'' Citgo is working with U.S. Representatives Edward Markey and Bill Delahunt, Democrats from the Boston area. Citgo is planning a similar program to sell 8 million gallons in New York, according to a statement from Representative Jose Serrano, a Democrat who represents the South Bronx. The Northeast accounts for about 80 percent of U.S. heating oil consumption. Congressional Proposals Senator Byron Dorgan, a North Dakota Democrat, has sponsored a bill that would tax profits when oil is above $40 a barrel and rebate the money to taxpayers. The Senate rejected the measure last week 64-35. Senator Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, has asked oil companies to donate 10 percent of their profits to help families pay heating bills. The world's five biggest publicly traded oil companies earned a combined $33.4 billion in the third quarter. The total value of the discounts Citgo is offering in Boston may reach $14 million, Rodriguez said. Up to 40,000 households will receive help. Citizens Energy Corp., run by Joseph P. Kennedy II, son of Robert Kennedy and a former Congressman, is one of the nonprofit groups working with Citgo in Boston. The other is the Mass Energy Consumers Alliance. Chavez's Pledge The planned Citgo sales in Boston and New York don't yet come up to the pledge Chavez made in August to offer poor people in the U.S. 66,000 barrels, or 2.8 million gallons, of heating oil a day. Citgo may expand its program, according to a statement from the company. Sales of 66,000 barrels a day would represent about 10 percent of the refinery capacity that Citgo controls in the U.S., Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said in August. Citgo owns all or part of eight refineries in the U.S. and sells fuel through 14,000 filling stations under the Citgo name. Wholesale heating oil in Boston was $1.7263 a gallon today, up 19 percent from a year ago, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The average U.S. household this winter will spend 27 percent more for heating oil than it did last winter, the U.S. Energy Department said in a Nov. 8 forecast. .