BP Oil Spill Benefits Cuba, Fidel Castro

Categories: La Habana, News

While Deepwater Horizon continues spewing black crude into the Gulf of Mexico, Cuban commies might be rejoicing. That's because the oil spill could be the strongest argument yet for ending the embargo.

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El Máximo and Brazil's Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who has signed an offshore drilling deal with Cuba.
Already, the two sides have been talking regularly about the Big Spill and how Cuba can protect itself from imminent tar balls. But going forward, the United States might want to take a crack at Cuba's recently discovered massive oil fields, and if it doesn't, it could miss out on big money, writes Without Fidel author Ann Bardach in the Washington Post.

In 2008, Cuba discovered oil fields in its northern waters that the U.S. Geological Survey pegs at 5 billion barrels and the Cubans estimate could reach 20 billion. That's a huge amount that could make it energy-independent soon, and even an oil exporter.

Oil companies across the globe, including Brazil, Spain, and China, have already signed drilling contracts with El Comandante. Meanwhile, the U.S., because of the embargo, can't, ignoring easy-access oil wells only 90 miles from its shores.

Sensing a missed opportunity, oil companies, including Halliburton, have pushed for laws that would allow business with Cuba, because if it doesn't, "it could leave American companies trailing their international rivals," says Fortune magazine.

But the most compelling argument for ending the embargo, writes Bardach, is that it would remove Cuba from Venezuela's oil teat. The commies for years have relied on Hugo Chávez's largesse. The tweeting dictator exports to Cuba 100,000 barrels of oil a day.

But without an embargo, Cuba could be free to pursue American oil contractors and do business with them instead. "An oil bonanza," Bardach writes, "would free Cuba to show Chávez the door, to the everlasting relief of Washington."

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