Despite Hugo Chavez’s continuing absence, Venezuelan Petro-Populism appears to be continuing under his hand-picked successor VP Nicolás Maduro. In particular, state-owned oil company PDVSA’s subsidiary CITGO recently announced the latest donation of heating oil to low-income residents of the United States.
This was a particularly interesting piece of international propaganda by Chavez, supplying oil to the needy in a country whose ambassador he has ejected, which has roughly four times his nation’s per-capita GDP.
We tend to think of Petro-Populism as a phenomenon of the developing world, which makes sense given Christian Parenti’s coining of the phrase in 2005 to describe Chavez. However, it is not as well known that Huey Long and his successors had a similar program in 20th century Louisiana.