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Chavez gives island to New Jersey, freaks out governor

State-owned Venezuelan oil company Citgo finalized a deal yesterday to donate an island it owns in the Delaware river back to the state of New Jersey. Citgo built refineries on Petty Island decades ago but the facilities are no longer in use and the island has become a sanctuary for eagles and waterfowl. New Jersey ...

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TRENTON, NJ - DECEMBER 17: New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine speaks with the media after signing legislation to eliminate the death penalty and replace it with life imprisonment without eligibility for parole December 17, 2007 at the State House in Trenton, New Jersey. New Jersey is the first state to eliminate the death penalty in 42 years. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

State-owned Venezuelan oil company Citgo finalized a deal yesterday to donate an island it owns in the Delaware river back to the state of New Jersey. Citgo built refineries on Petty Island decades ago but the facilities are no longer in use and the island has become a sanctuary for eagles and waterfowl. New Jersey plans to create a nature sanctuary on the island.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez trumpted the deal at last weekend’s Summit of the Americas. According the Newark Star Ledger the involvement of Chavez spooked New Jersey governor Jon Corzine who decided not to attend the handover ceremony:

A ranking Corzine administration official, however, said the governor’s office feared Chavez was planning to issue a video statement complimenting Corzine, which would prove potentially sticky for the Democrat during his re-election bid this year. The official said the concern was that Republicans would use a Chavez statement to paint Corzine as a “socialist.”

You know things have gotten bad when the former CEO of Goldman Sachs is afraid of being called a socialist.

 Twitter: @joshuakeating

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