Press Conference Background

Press Conference Background

The Announcement Of The Deal

The Announcement Of The Deal

Here Comes The Oil!

Here Comes The Oil!

In the Tremont section of the Bronx on Tuesday U.S. Congressman Jose Serrano, Venezuela's Ambassador to the United States Bernardo Alvarez, and CITGO CEO Felix Rodriguez announced the details of a deal to deliver low cost heating oil to residents of the South Bronx. The program was brokered by Representative Serrano and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez while touring the Bronx last September.

"The low-income residents of my district who will benefit from this historic agreement are going to see real savings and improvements in their quality of life," Congressman Serrano said.

In October a dozen senators wrote a letter asking the chief executives of nine major oil companies to use some of their firm’s record profits on fuel assistance programs for poor households. The only company to respond was CITGO, an American subsidiary of Venezuela's state-owned oil company and the nation's fourth-largest gasoline retailer.

"We are truly grateful to CITGO and the Venezuelan people for their generosity. It is absolutely shameful that no American oil company has similarly stepped forward to help communities struggling with high energy costs during the winter heating season, especially in view of their record profits these last months," Rep. Serrano said.

The heating oil will be sold and delivered to the three non-profits groups at a discount of 40 percent to 75 apartment buildings in the Bronx, benefiting 8,000 low-income residents through April 1, 2006. The savings generated will be both reinvested in the community, through social programs run by the housing corporations, and given back to the tenants of the buildings, in the form of rent reductions or other benefits.

CITGO will in the coming weeks provide 8 million gallons of fuel to properties owned by three Bronx nonprofit housing groups, the Mount Hope Housing Company, the Fordham Bedford Housing Corporation and VIP Community Services. And the first 500 gallons were pumped from a red and green CITGO truck into a valve on the sidewalk outside a 56-unit building at East 40 176th Street operated by the Mount Hope group.

A smiling Congressman Serrano said “I can’t remember the last time something this significant has being able to be put together”.