ANCHORAGE, Alaska - The four remote Alaska villages that rejected free home heating oil from Venezuela may end up with full tanks anyhow.
Leaders of the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association said last week that they will not accept oil for residents of Nelson Lagoon, Atka, St. Paul and St. George offered by Venezuela President Hugo Chavez out of loyalty to Bush and the country.
"Despite the critical need for fuel in our region, the Unangan (Aleut) people are Americans first, and we cannot support the political agenda attached to this donation," leaders of the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association had said in a prepared statement last week.
The conundrum of course is do they reject the fuel (the principled approach) or accept the fuel and rob some cash out of Chavez's pocket (the practical approach). Chavez obviously thinks that $5 million in heating oil will buy him some American goodwill. I think Chavez loses either way. Those too principled to take the oil won't and Chavez loses. Those willing to take it are unlikely to be swayed by Chavez's ideas. I suspect most of them think "if he's dumb enough to give us oil, we're willing to take it." Chavez still loses.