Despite the warnings of Dick Cheney, George Will, Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, the Russians are not drilling for oil off Cuba. Neither are the Chinese. In fact, no one — not even Cuba — is drilling for oil off Cuba.
The pesky and persistent rumor, bubbling back up with the Deepwater Horizon disaster, is still nothing more than a pesky and persistent rumor — aired in 2008 by former Vice President Cheney (who got the misinformation from conservative columnist Will), repeated on Fox News and recently revived by conservative radio commentator Limbaugh, who told his listeners 10 days after the spill: "The Russians are drilling in a deal with the Cubans in the Gulf. The Vietnamese and Angola are drilling for oil in the Gulf in deals with the Cubans."
However, as oil from BP's exploded well continues surging from the Gulf floor and washing onto Panhandle beaches, the rumor is poised to become fact.
Repsol, a Spanish company, expects to begin drilling off Cuba in 2011, according to published reports and oil-industry analysts. Companies from at least 10 other countries, including Russia and China, are negotiating or already have signed lease deals to drill off Cuba.
It's as if Cheney, Limbaugh, and Will have been making things up out of thin air all along, nothing at all has happened until now, and they're all of sudden just getting lucky. Horse manure.
Stapleton's comeback would more than likely be, "I'm right, because no one is drilling right at this very moment."
Well, ma'am, if you're going to get that technical, I will too. This Wall Street Journal story notes that Repsol did some drilling in 2004, and then stopped after results were disappointing. So the Spanish company isn't about to "begin" drilling, it's going to "resume" doing so.
And while we're at it, Ms. Stapleton, a person doesn't issue "warnings" about what is happening, they do so about what's coming. So when you try to claim that the conservative trio was claiming that substantial drilling was already occurring two years ago, anyone reading and listening in context knew that they meant that the Russians, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Angolans -- and for that matter, Petrobas, the Brazilian-owned oil company in which George Soros has hundreds of millions of dollars invested (how did she miss that?) -- are attempting to work out and in several cases have worked out arrangements with the Cuban government that would or will lead to drilling operations.
The linked article also notes that:
Cuba's portion of the Gulf of Mexico (Click image at top right to enlarge -- Ed.) has been divided into 59 blocks, of which 17 have been contracted out to companies including Spanish oil giant Repsol and its partners, Malaysia's Petronas, Brazil's Petrobras, Venezuela's PDVSA and PetroVietnam.
Shazam! They already have contracts (for what that's worth in dealing with Fidel Castro's communist workers' paradise).
Rush also pointed to this Associated Press item from July 2006 carried at the Washington Post.
From here on out, say a growing chorus of experts, America will pay a price for maintaining its 45-year trade ban with the communist nation -- a strategic and economic price that will have negative repercussions for the United States in the decades to come.
What has changed the equation?
To be more specific, recent, sizable discoveries of it in the North Cuba Basin -- deep-water fields that have already drawn the interest of companies from China, India, Norway, Spain, Canada, Venezuela and Brazil.
This, in turn, has reheated debate in the U.S. Congress and the Cuban-American community on an old question:
Has the time finally come to shelve the embargo -- given America's need for more sources of crude at a time of rising gas prices, soaring global demand and the outbreak of war in the Middle East?
Thus, there has been interest in Cuba's oil for four years. This, along with the contractual arrangements cited above, makes the existence of plans to drill in Cuba far more than the "pesky and persistent rumor" Ms. Stapleton cited.
Ms. Stapleton should have put a hold on the bashing and stuck to reporting the relevant facts. Instead she chose to insult informed readers' intelligence by taking cheap and ineffective shots at people who have been proven right time and time again -- including this time.
Your loss, ma'am.
Graphic found at the Palm Beach Post.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.