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Venezuela Discounts Heating Oil for Philadelphia's Poor

Venezuela is offering some poor families in the eastern U.S. city of Philadelphia discounted heating oil, following up on its offer to people in several other communities.

U.S. Congresswoman, Chaka Fattah who brokered the deal said Friday it fills a real need among poor families who have used up their state and federal aid.

The agreement with U.S.-based Citgo, which is owned by Venezuela's national oil company, allows more than 7,000 Philadelphia families to buy their heating oil at a 40 percent discount.

Venezuela previously made such deals with communities in the U.S. states of New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Massachusetts and Maine.

Critics say it is a political ploy by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to make President Bush look bad. But supporters say it is purely a humanitarian gesture.

U.S. heating oil prices have increased substantially this year because of rising oil prices worldwide.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.