Cuba has been in a state of nearly perpetual poverty since 1992. It’s greatest ally — the Soviet Union — dissolved over the Christmas season of 1991, leaving the island state without it’s largest trading partner. Twenty years on, the red island might have found a natural blessing in the form of oil deposits off the coast. However, not all are happy with this discovery, for environmental and political reasons.
That said, the validity of these concerns need to be weighed. Some are afraid the oil would allow for the Communist government to be propped up for decades to come, something of a stimulus package that could bolster the economy. Others fear a Cuban oil spill taking place off of the coast of Florida, given the tragedy of Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico.
That said, all of this screaming over Cuba’s new riches is absurd. Fidel Castro and Raúl Castro are old men, both of whom might very well die within our decade – the younger Castro is a youthful 80 years old. Not only that, a lot of the old guard in the party, men and women who remembered la revolución and fought in it, are also old and dying. This very similar situation happened in the Soviet Union after Leonid Brezhnev died — there’s a reason nobody remembers Yuri Andropov and Konstantin Chernenko before Mikhail Gorbachev took power in the nation. All three of these men died one after another in rapid succession, paving the way for Gorbachev, who did not have the struggles of WWII and the Russian Revolution — and Gorbachev changed things.
The idea that this oil rig will give the Castro regime or even the Communist party a revitalization is unrealistic. It will take a Deng Xiaopeng, or an iron fist, to maintain the status quo for the Communist party.
Second, and most importantly, the fears of Deepwater Horizon, part two. Nobody can afford another repeat of the Deepwater Horizon accident. Hundreds of thousand of lives were ruined, economies suffered, businesses closed, and ways of life ended. The ocean became a toxic soup which still continues to throw up the occasional tar ball — a harsh reminder of the toll that comes with petroleum energy. However, Deepwater 2, if it happened at this Cuban well, would not be dealt with by the United States government (Unless the Cubans requested help from us; given our previous stances toward the country, the odds of this are minute). We wouldn’t be able to do a thing until it entered American territorial waters. Even then, the ecology would be badly hammered by that point.
That said, if nature is the primary concern here (which it isn’t), there are rigs in American territories that spoil our natural wilderness, fracking in the north east, and attempts to mine the Grand Canyon for uranium, as well as attempts to “drill baby drill” in protected Alaskan wilderness. These issues, within our sovereign borders, must be taken care of. If we’re so concerned to protect Cuba’s coast, why not our own wildlife preserves, or the beautiful parks which draw millions of tourists to revel in awe at the views?
Let’s preserve our natural heritage before we scream about things we can’t prevent. Cuba will likely drill, and there is little short of bombing the place that we can do to stop it.
[Photo By IISG]