Former U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy II praised Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez on Wednesday while his son, newly-elected Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA), sent out his "thoughts and prayers" to Chavez's family a day after the Venezuelan president died.
Kennedy II heads Citizens Energy, a group Chavez used as propaganda against America and President George W. Bush. Chavez donated 200 million gallons of heating oil starting in 2005 to Citizens Energy. According to reports, the program "offers 100 gallons of free oil per family."
After accepting oil from Chavez to embarrass the Bush administration, Kennedy II cut commercials in 2008 in which he hailed Chavez's Citgo and slammed America's "Big Oil" companies:
...yet our own government cut fuel assistance. And the Big Oil companies with oil and money to burn all said "no" when we asked for help. All but one. Citgo. Owned by the Venezuelan people, is donating millions of gallons to non-profit Citizens Energy.
Kennedy II, a nephew of President John F. Kennedy, said the Venezuelan tyrant truly cared about the poor when "“some of the wealthiest people on our planet have more money than they can ever reasonably expect to spend.”
Kennedy III, his son, said in a statement that his "thoughts and prayers are with President Chavez’s family" and that "in this time of transition, it is my hope that the United States and Venezuela can build a productive relationship for the future.”