Hugo Chavez's PR Coup

"Fenton Communications is promoting Venezuela's discounted oil program for disadvantaged families in Massachusetts, New York and maybe Maine," reports O'Dwyer's. The left-leaning PR firm "promoted the Nov. 22 press event held in the home of a low-income North Quincy, Mass., couple that featured [Democratic Congressman William] Delahunt and Venezuela's Ambassador to the U.S., Bernardo Alvarez." Venezuela says the offer is a "simple act of generosity to help people in Massachusetts weather the combined economic storms of Katrina, Rita and the global oil shortage." The Wall Street Journal decried the arrangement as "lobbying" for "Venezuelan tyrant" Hugo Chavez. On December 1, full-page ads promoting the arrangement appeared in the New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post and Houston Chronicle. In Venezuela, the main opposition parties say they will boycott the December 4 legislative elections.