Chavez??¢â???¬â???¢s Gasoline

Rep. Connie Mack IV (R.-Fla.) last week delivered a stinging, yet sensible, statement on the House floor following Hugo Chavez’s offer of gasoline in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Mack’s assertiveness on Chavez—Mack is one of the most outspoken critics in the House and a key player on the International Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere—is a positive development for the GOP as it searches for a level-headed voice to challenge the Venezuelan’s leftist leader.

I have been and continue to be gravely concerned with Venezuela President Hugo Chavez’s march against freedom.

But I appreciate that Hugo Chavez acted appropriately in a time of crisis when he recently offered to provide the U.S. government with a supply of needed oil and gasoline in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina.

This morning’s Washington Post included a story which outlines Chavez’s plans to ship a million barrels of gasoline—in addition to its scheduled shipment of 1.2 million barrels—to the United States in the coming month.

While this may help alleviate consumer concerns at the pump, we must all recognize that when we purchase Hugo Chavez’s gasoline we line the pockets of a staunch enemy of freedom.

The United States welcomes efforts to help stem our temporary gasoline and oil shortage. But Hugo Chavez must understand that we will not yield an inch in our demand for freedom in Venezuela and around the world.