Subsidiary of Venezuela’s State Oil Company Donates Initial US$3 Million to Harvey Relief Effort

Evacuees affected by Tropical Storm Harvey take shelter at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston, Texas, U.S., August 31, 2017 | Photo: Reuters

The firm will also will provide a percentage of retail sales toward “rebuilding efforts in the most disadvantaged communities”. 

The Acting President and CEO of the CITGO Petroleum Corporation, a subsidiary of the Venezuelan state oil company, PDVSA, based in Houston, is donating an intial US$3 million dollars to the Mayor’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.

In a letter to the city’s Mayor Sylvester Turner, Jose Pereira said the firm would also will provide a percentage of retail sales toward “rebuilding efforts in the most disadvantaged communities that were affected in our region.”

Details regarding the programme are still being finalized and will be made public soon.

Pereira explained how the disaster has directly affected the company, “Several of our own employees and their families have been displaced in this storm and even rescued from harm’s way, so we are personally involved and understand how our communities are suffering.”

Letter from CITGO to the Mayor of Houston

He said the areas impacted across Texas, from Corpus Christi to Houston and Lake Charles, Louisiana, include the homes of the company’s business operations as well as its staff.

On Wednesday, the Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza announced that the nation will be donating US$5 million to help with recovery efforts in areas devastated by Harvey.

Arreaza said “Let’s not allow war or threats to be imposed, but instead let’s impose solidarity. We will always be with the people of the United States and the peoples of the world in difficult times.”

He said rescue workers, doctors, and other specialized personnel would also be sent to help with the situation on the ground.

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro approved the special program to help the victims in the states of Louisiana and Texas.

Meanwhile, the first funerals of the victims who died in the torrential flooding caused by the storm, have been taking place.

At least 47 people are known to have been killed. Dozens more are still missing.

The first memorial service was held for Benito Juarez Cavazos.

The body of the 42-year-old auto-body shop worker, who came to the U.S. from Mexico 28 years ago, was found on Tuesday in a parking lot near a Houston freeway after floodwaters receded.

Cavazos had recently received a work permit, and was scheduled for an appointment the next day to help him get permanent residency, his cousins said at the service.

“It’s very unfortunate that right when he finally had hopes of being able to maybe go to Mexico soon to go see his family it all went downhill,” his cousin, Maria Cavazos, said.

Hundreds of thousands of houses and buildings have been badly damaged.

About 200 people waved signs and shouted as they rallied outside a still-flooded subdivision in the west Houston suburb of Katy, demanding answers about when they will be able to return home.

Mayor Sylvester Turner has warned residents that their homes could remain flooded for up to 15 days because of ongoing releases of water from two reservoirs protecting downtown.

Homeowner Sheetal Parwal said her family now has less than what they had when they emigrated from India 10 years ago, and that their home is now a swamp.

U.S. President Donald Trump arrived in Houston for his second visit. He and first lady Melania Trump met with Harvey evacuees taking shelter at the NRG Center in Houston.

They spent time in an area designated for children and helped to serve food.

Trump has asked lawmakers for a US$7.9 billion down payment toward relief and recovery efforts — a request expected to be swiftly approved by Congress, which returns to work Tuesday after its summer break.

See video here.

CITGO-AP-Reuters-New York Post

by teleSUR

teleSUR, September 2, 2017

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