Long ago, I stopped buying Citgo brand gas, because I was appalled at Chavez' subversion of his country, and didn't want to subsidize a man who oppresses his own people. I don't boycott the stores, just the gas pumps, because inside merchandise sales don't benefit Citgo petroleum.
According to 7-Eleven spokesman Margaret Chabris: "Regardless of politics, we sympathize with many Americans' concern over derogatory comments about our country and its leadership recently made by Venezuela's president Hugo Chavez."
There are concerns that the increase in oil prices that is undoubtedly creating soaring revenue for Citgo's parent company is being lost through corruption, presumably by the Chavez regime:
Even Citgo, the U.S. refiner and gas retailer wholly owned by Pdvsa, earlier this year paid off all its debt and stopped the routine practice of reporting data to Moody's financial service -- thus ending all outside scrutiny of the company's books.
What's more, much of Venezuela's oil revenue now stays outside the government's budgetary channels. In recent years, Congress has set each year's government budget by setting Pdvsa's tax payments artificially low. This year, for example, Pdvsa's taxes are pegged to a price of $26 per barrel for Venezuela's blend of heavy crudes -- which currently sells for $58. The $32 per barrel difference remains largely off-budget, with no legislative supervision or disclosure of line-item details.
This follow's Chavez' outrageous scene at the United Nations, which even drew the scorn of congressional Democrats:
"You don't come into my country, you don't come into my congressional district, and you don't condemn my president. If there's any criticism of President Bush, it should be restricted to Americans - whether we voted for him or not."
- Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY)
"Hugo Chavez fancies himself a modern day Simon Bolivar but all he is, is an everyday thug ... he demeaned himself and he demeaned Venezuela."
- Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
"His differences with United States policies are well-known, and the United Nations is a forum for airing such policy concerns. But his personal attacks and ridicule directed at the President of the United States are unacceptable."
- Rep. Chakka Fattah (D-PA)