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Some local oil business leaders aren't sad to see Hugo Chavez go

Hundreds of jobs were lost in Tulsa after Hugo Chavez took over as president in Venezuela.

The headquarters for Citgo, a subsidiary of Venezuela's state-owned oil company, used to sit on Yale Avenue in between 61st and 71st.

Part of the company was started in Tulsa and former employees say it was a great place to work until Hugo Chavez got his hands on the company.

Joe Stephenson used to own Citgo Stations in the area.

He tells KRMG, “The more Chavez would take over control of the company the more he was demanding profits.”

Chavez was popular among the poor in Venezuela after he used his oil fortune to pay for new public housing, free health clinics and education programs.

In 2004, Chavez moved the headquarters to Houston and the problems for the Tulsa area didn’t stop there.

Stephenson says, “The more vocal he was about his resentment of the United States, the more customers we lost back then when we were branded Citgo.”

Customers started boycotting Citgo stations when Chavez started a campaign against the U.S. and promoted a leftist revival across Latin America.

Citgo owners were sent scrambling to find another supplier.

“Bad deal; he took a great company and really put turmoil in it.”

Stephenson says he didn’t shed any tears when he heard Chavez died.

He also won’t be sending any flowers.

Tuesday the world learned that Chavez had lost a two-year bout with cancer at the age of 58.

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