The GOP is in the midst of a coordinated effort to slam Democrats for a seemingly outrageous contradiction: While Democrats—with the help of Florida Republicans—block oil drilling off the Florida shore, China is doing just that a mere 60 miles off the coast of Cuba. Vice President Dick Cheney, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) have all raised the specter of Chinese drilling off Cuba’s coast.
In a recent speech, Cheney quoted a column by George Will, who wrote last week that “drilling is under way 60 miles off Florida. The drilling is being done by China, in cooperation with Cuba, which is drilling closer to South Florida than U.S. companies are.”
The truth of that claim, however, is seriously in doubt.
Democrats today pointed to a February 29, 2008 Congressional Research Service that found “[w]hile there has been some concern about China’s potential involvement in offshore deepwater oil projects, to date its involvement in Cuba’s oil sector has been focused on onshore oil extraction in Pinar del Rio province through its state-run China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec).”
For the record, it’s hard to keep up with all the pronouncements and partnerships announced by castro, inc. And if it’s hard for us, who are reading this bullcrap all the time, imagine how hard it is for others who don’t.
The fact is that Cuba has made several public announcements about their intentions to drill in the Caribbean, close to Florida.
Here’s an article from 2006, Heralding a venture with India:
India’s biggest state-controlled oil exploring company has won permission from Cuba to drill for crude in its waters, part of an effort by the Caribbean island’s communist regime to become oil self-sufficient in coming years.
Financial terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed. But the deal to explore Cuba’s Gulf of Mexico waters for oil comes at a time when U.S. companies and politicians are concerned over exploration in the area.
India’s Oil & Natural Gas Corp. will seek oil in the N-34 and N-35 blocs of Cuba’s economic exclusive zone in the Gulf of Mexico, state-controlled oil company Union Cuba Petroleo said. ONGC, as the Indian company is known, becomes the seventh company to explore for oil offshore in Cuba…
Cuba plans to drill for oil in its portion of the Florida Straits…
Other foreign companies operating in Cuba’s oil industry are Repsol-YPF SA, Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd and Sherritt International Co. of Canada.
Also in 2006, Al Jazeera reported a similar deal between Cuba and China:
The Cuban government is to allow China to station 12 oil rigs in its waters in the Gulf of Mexico.
Fidel Castro’s government has stepped up work on 36 new oil wells in partnership with Chinese and Canadian companies, officials said on Thursday.
The Cuban government is generally silent about oil matters, but this week Communist Party newspaper Granma also reported that Cuba had drilled its deepest oil well yet near Varadero, east of Havana.
Diplomatic sources said Indian, Norwegian and Spanish companies would begin searching for crude oil in the gulf.
While it’s certainly possible that these deals, like fidel’s famous mini-cows and super cows, ended up not panning out, it’s certainly probable that Cuba would drill in the Caribbean if they aren’t already. Whether it’s in partnership with China, India, Canada or any other country is hardly the point. The point is that drilling will be (if it’s not already happening) very close to Florida and yet our congress continues to keep American companies from exploring on our side of the very narrow Florida straits.