Thingish Things

Boycott CITGO, Unseat Chávez

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Jan• 12•11

Venezuelan autocrat Hugo Chávez is playing nice these days.  The hot-headed quasi Marxist has had a sudden change of heart about welcoming a U.S. ambassador back into Caracas.  His huggy photo-op in Brazil last week with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confirms the strategy.

But why?

Why is the Venezuelan blowhard – a man who just finished touring Iran and Syria and who is purchasing short range missiles and T-72 tanks from Vladimir Putin – talking nicely to the U.S. now?

After all, this is a guy who has had choice words about America and its leaders.  A few for kicks:

We have to do everything possible so that in the coming years the US empire falls.”

“You are ignoramus, you are a burro, Mr. Danger…or to say it to you in my bad English: You are a donkey, Mr. Danger. You are a donkey, Mr. George W. Bush.”

“[President Obama] goes and accuses me of exporting terrorism: the least I can say is that he’s a poor ignoramus; he should read and study a little to understand reality.”

“Obama, take charge of your own and I will take charge of mine here, compadre. Do not mess with me, Mr. Obama.

That’s the polite stuff.  I mercifully omitted ones about President Obama’s backside and  sulfuric odors emanating from President G. W. Bush.

The answer to Chávez’s change of heart is simple. It’s for the same reason all inspiring dictators change their tune every now and then: He needs to play nice because he’s vulnerable at home. Chávez is facing his toughest re-election challenge ever in 2012 (despite his ardent wishes, Venezuela is still a democracy).  And his re-elect numbers stink, as they should.  Chavez has systematically disassembled, and destroyed, Venezuela’s economy in the name of the “people.” His embarrassing anti-American antics have also grown stale at home.

The U.S. government has a choice.  It can embrace Mr. Chávez’s newfound magnanimity, or it can press the advantage.  It should do the latter, but will likely pursue the former, judging by President Obama’s approach to world affairs over the past 25 months.

By giving Chávez the public relations victories at home he needs, though, the Obama Administration will only be propping up the world troublemaker for re-election.  We should be doing everything possible to take him out next year – electorally.

But the American people have a wonderful tool at their disposal.  They can help pry Chávez from his world perch all on their own.

Americans can boycott Venezuelan-owned CITGO stations.  The wholly-owned subsidiary of Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) has gas pumps down the street from millions of us.   We don’t have to fill up there.

I’ve been boycotting CITGO stations for four years, and I have survived. I’ve even paid a couple of pennies extra per gallon at pumps down the road from Citgo’s a few times and it didn’t kill me.  Total investment for feeling better about myself: probably around 10 bucks.

The convenience chain 7/11 dumped Citgo as its gas retailer a few years back, to its credit.  And I’m not alone in bypassing Citgo stations with a low tank. But Chávez’s  government continues to be propped up by unsuspecting American drivers. And remember, local Citgo owners – everyday Americans like us – don’t have to remain Citgo owners.  They are free to re-open their stations as Texaco’s or Exxon’s or Mobile’s or even BP’s.

Other than Sean Penn — don’t get me started – does anyone believe Hugo Chávez is a anything other than a tyrant to his own people and a dangerous player on the world stage?

I can’t think of a rational one.

So why not help get rid of him if we can?

Next time you pass a CITGO station, keep driving.

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  2. […]  So does the recovering manufacturing sector;  the growing automobile market in China and India; a nut job controlling Venezuela’s oil exports, and deep-water drilling moratoriums in the Gulf Coast […]

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