CHRISTINE ARMARIO, Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez donated millions of gallons in heating oil to U.S. families through the state-owned Citgo Corp. He offered gasoline and $5 million in aid to help victims in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
But despite his efforts, Chavez was never able to foster his image as a savior of the poor in the U.S. like he did in Venezuela. More often, his offers were rebuked as a politically motivated ploy that reached a relatively small number of people.
His socialist vision also failed to earn him widespread admiration among leftists in the U.S.
New York University Professor Alejandro Velasco said Chavez's efforts to highlight the contradictions of the U.S. economic system were ultimately more successful in generating pride in Venezuela than gaining him a following up north.
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