CNN, which if I recall correctly severed formal ties with the Associated Press some time ago, quoted former congressman Joseph Kennedy II’s reaction to the death of Venezuela’s authoritarian leader Hugo Chavez as follows: “President Chavez cared deeply about the poor of Venezuela and other nations around the world and their abject lack of even basic necessities, while some of the wealthiest people on our planet have more money than they can ever reasonably expect to spend” … There are close to 2 million people in the United States who received free heating assistance, thanks to President Chavez’s leadership. Our prayers go out to President Chavez’s family, the people of Venezuela, and all who were warmed by his generosity.”
Here is how Christine Armario at the AP, with the help of Steve LeBlanc in Boston, sanitized Kennedy’s remarks:
Former U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy II recalled that Chavez and the people of Venezuela donated 200 million gallons of heating oil to Citizens Energy, which distributes oil to lower income families in 25 states and Washington, D.C.
Kennedy, who heads Citizens Energy, said Chavez cared about the poor. A nephew of President John F. Kennedy, he said his prayers go out to Chavez’s family and the Venezuelan people.
Armario’s cleanup exercise enabled her to avoid a quite inconvenient fact about someone who somehow amassed more wealth than he could reasonably expect to spend — Hugo Chavez. Consider the following from July 2010:
Criminal Justice International Associates (CJIA), a risk assessment and global analysis firm in Miami, estimated in a recent report that the Chávez Frías family in Venezuela has “amassed a fortune” similar to that of the Castro brothers in Cuba.
According to Jerry Brewer, president of CJIA, “the personal fortune of the Castro brothers has been estimated at a combined value of around $2 billion.”
“The Chávez Frías family in Venezuela has amassed a fortune of a similar scale since the arrival of Chávez to the presidency in 1999,” said Brewer in an analysis published in their website.
Other corrobborating non-numeral evidence that Chavez’s family accumulated vast wealth during his reign which also pre-date Chavez’s death include a November 2007 item at NPR (“Venezuelan President’s Power Extends to His Family”) and a July 2009 report at the News York Times (“State Ruled by Crime and Chávez Family”) which contains the following paragraph:
Politicians once loyal to the president who have broken with him and his family here contend that Mr. Chávez’s family has amassed wealth and landholdings through a series of deals carried out by front men.
According to press reports in late 2010, Chavez “and other members of the presidential family hold five bank accounts in the United States amounting to USD 137 million.”
Howie Carr reminded us this morning in his Boston Herald column that Kennedy doesn’t need to worry about having funds for his next meal, thanks to his “not-for-profit” work:
Poor Joe Kennedy, mourning the loss of his grand amigo, “El Comandante,” the tinpot Latin American thug who put the “profit” back in “non-profit” for the Kennedy kleptocracy.
… For the record, according to 2011 tax filings, Comrade Joe made $901,236 from Citizens Energy and related corporations. His lovely bride, Beth, grabbed another $346,764.
The AP report just noted report and a previous one covered early this morning by Matthew Balan at NewsBusters shows that the wire service’s acronym all too often really means “the Authoritarian Press.”
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.