The Great Cuban Oil Myth Remains (a Myth)

Thursday, July 9, 2009
An opinion editorial by University of Michigan economics and finance professor, Mark Perry, and distributed by McClatchy-Tribune, sets an all-too-familiar alarmist tone:

"The 47-year-old trade embargo against Cuba has been shaken by the revelation that drilling for oil and natural gas is about to take place less than 50 miles off the U.S. coast - in Cuban waters."

Ironically, the editorial was being distributed on the same day Reuters reported that, "Cuba and a consortium of foreign oil companies have once again postponed plans to drill for oil in the island's still-untapped fields in the Gulf of Mexico, diplomatic and industry sources said this week."

"The project has been postponed until a further date for more study," said a foreign oil industry source with direct knowledge of the plans.

During a 2006 debate over legislation by then-U.S. Senator Larry Craig of Idaho, which sought to lift sanctions on U.S. companies seeking to drill for oil in Cuba, the UPI reported:

Though the lure of what lies beneath the waters off Cuba has piqued the interest of oil companies and lawmakers alike, some like Mauricio Claver-Carone, a member of the U.S.-Cuba Democracy Political Action Committee, said the potential for striking real oil riches out there is more fallacy than fact.

"It's been a big smoke screen for a long time. The Soviets used to say there were large deposits off the shores of Cuba, though it hasn't been proven," said Claver-Carone, who also contends that Castro is using the basin as a means of promoting foreign investment in Cubapetroleo.

You decide.