U.S. Inspectors Approve Cuban Oil Rig 70 Miles Off Florida Coast, Ros-Lehtinen Slams Obama

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When it comes to Cuba, President Obama can do little right in the eyes of exilio politicians. When he eased travel restrictions to the island, for example, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen accused him of undermining democracy on the island. Now she's slamming Obama for his decision to order U.S. inspectors to check a deep-water oil rig that is on its way to Cuba.

While Obama may have helped avoid another Deepwater Horizon spill just 70 miles from the Florida Keys, he has incurred The Lehtinator's colada-fueled wrath.

"A state sponsor of terrorism [is] poised to achieve a tremendous economic boon by entering the oil business and endangering U.S. waters to boot," she said. "It is deeply disappointing that the Obama administration appears content to just watch that happen."

The new rig, called Scarabeo-9, is a collaboration between Spanish oil company Repsol YPF and the Cuban government.

The communist-controlled island is estimated to have vast undersea oil reserves, and Repsol plans to drill as deep as 6,000 feet under the ocean's surface -- roughly the same depth as the Deepwater Horizon well -- to find it.

Cuba, however, doesn't have the resources to respond to a spill. Other countries like Canada and Norway have offered assistance, but would take hours if not days to arrive -- enough time to soak South Beach in petroleum.

So Obama ordered U.S. inspectors to scrutinize Scarabeo-9 on Monday off the coast of Trinidad and Tobago.

But back in November, Ros-Lehtinen warned that any such assistance would break be breaking the law.

U.S. "assistance, guidance and technical advice" to Repsol would provide the Cuban government "with a financial windfall," Ros-Lehtinen said in a Nov. 1 letter to the president.

In other Cuba news, Iranian leader Mahmoud Admadinejad is visiting the island today. He met with newly re-elected Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega as well as Hugo Chavez yesterday in Managua.

"They say we're making (a) bomb," Ahmadinejad said. "Fortunately, the majority of Latin American countries are alert. Everyone knows that those words ... are a joke. It's something to laugh at."

Chavez, recently accused of receiving U.S. nuclear codes from a network of Venezuelan spies and Mexican hackers, also laughed off the claims.

"When we devils get together ... it's like they go crazy," he said.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes. Follow this journalist on Twitter @MikeMillerMiami.

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6 comments
James Weisinger
James Weisinger

so since Cuba is 90 miles from key west. does this mean its 20 miles off the Cuban coast too?

phillyfanatic
phillyfanatic

This Obama mess has to end. He disses all of our legal domestic energy industries and allows Brazil, Cuba, China , and other states one could easily call enemies of the USA to drill almost off shore for our own resources. This naif in the WH is an idiot as well as a hater of our own energy systems like oil, shale, coal, gas, and nuclear energy and could immediately provide jobs with Keystone. But, he is captive to our own enemies as well as crazed enviros. And today, he wants 1 trillion more in debt ceiling expenditures to whittle away at our future. Anybody who supports this , frankly hates our American heritage, history and values.

SunnyD954
SunnyD954

When will the older Cubans get over it and support an end to the embargo, which is the only thing perpetuating communism on the island?

Ana Mendez
Ana Mendez

Ros-Lehtinen is bought and paid for.and the woman is a useful TOOL.

Mark1967
Mark1967

Phillyfanatic, How is the U.S. supposed to stop a sovereign nation from exploring its own energy reserves in its own waters!  What are you thinking?  If we had diplmotic relations with Cuba perhaps a solution that would ease everyones concerns would be afoot. Maybe even they could purchase our technology which would create jobs and bring needed capital to our own country. Instead the exile community ignorantly beats its chest and grunts expecting everyone to submit to our will.  The rest of the world does exist despite your wishes.  It's all a big contradiction. We should drill in our waters but not allow someone else to drill in there's.

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