Hugo Chavez tried embarrassing the Bush administration by supplying free heating oil to poor American families last winter, claiming that his socialist government did more to help Americans than the capitalists at the White House.  Unfortunately for Hugo, the oil bubble popped since last winter, and his sulphuric crude can’t even get $40 per barrel now.  With electricity failing throughout his country and revenue dissipating, Hugo can’t afford to spend money on Americans any longer:

Venezuela’s state oil company is suspending a much-promoted program that provided free heating oil to hundreds of thousands of poor people throughout the U.S., the company announced Monday.

The program has been a public relations bonanza for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a socialist who frequently attacks capitalism and the U.S. Chavez repeatedly has tweaked the noses of U.S. policy makers by saying the program shows that he’s a good friend of America’s poor.

Venezuela is halting the program at least temporarily because the sharp drop in oil prices is forcing the country to reduce government spending, the firm said in a statement from Citizens Energy Corp., a Boston-based nonprofit that’s managed the program in the U.S.

That leaves Joe Kennedy II out in the cold as well.  The former Congressman helped organize Chavez’ propaganda operation, which (it should be said) did help real people in need of a break on heating oil.  He insisted that it mattered little where the oil originated or what Chavez’ purpose was in handing out the freebies, and refused to give up on Chavez even after the program ended.  Kennedy asked people who benefited from the program to write letters to Chavez thanking him for his generosity.

Instead of fronting for a socialist nutcase trying his best to become a dictator for life, perhaps Joe Kennedy could use part of his family fortune to replace the oil.  The Kennedys didn’t get to where they were at through socialism, after all.  Acting as an apologist for a confiscatory wanna-be dictator from Kennedy’s position is hypocritical on a couple of levels.

Congress, for its part, doubled the assistance for heating oil this year, so that should help cover the gap.