Thursday, June 12, 2008

Until It Costs US Something

Well, Cuba is looking to drill for oil 50 miles off the coast of Florida. The well looks to be really big -- "The U.S. Geological Survey has estimated the Cuban field holds at least 5 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 10 trillon cubic feet of natural gas." (That from a Reuters article in the Times.)

First off, I'm pretty amazed that we don't have control over water that close to our shore. American companies aren't allowed to drill less than 100 miles from the Florida shore. I didn't know Cuba was less than 100 miles away, either.

"The [Cuban] government has sold oil concessions to seven companies and has said a consortium of Spanish, Indian and Norwegian companies will drill the first production well in the first half of 2009."

Of course, wouldn't this country be more comfortable if that water was drilled by American companies -- our profits, our responsibilities (we're still waiting for the Exxon Valdez verdict, by the way)... Furthermore, it seems from the article that US technology is necessary to access the depth of these particular wells. Because of the embargo American companies are prevented from passing on that information, according to the Times article.

"Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado, an expert on Cuba energy matters and a political science professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, says America’s thirst for oil will soon force a fundamental change in Washington’s relations with Havana."

This from an AP story in Havana today.

Last month, President Bush spoke at the White House for Cuban soildarity:

"Today, after nearly a half-century of repression, Cuba still suffers under the personal despotism of Fidel and Raul Castro. On the dictators' watch, Cuba's political freedoms have been denied. Families have been torn apart. The island's economy has been reduced to shambles. Cuba's culture has been drained of artists and scholars and musicians and athletes. And like the once-grand buildings of Havana, Cuba's society is crumbling after decades of neglect under the Castros."

Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado continued,

“I’ve always argued that we would keep the Cuban embargo in place until we got to the point where it started to cost us something.”

What's the message here -- dictatorship is bad unless we can't run our A/C all summer? I am not saying anything about the embargo -- it's merits or not -- I really don't know the situation well enough at all. I imagine it has mostly hurt the Cuban people. It doesn't seemed to have changed power. I did always think at least our government believed in the cause...

I have been thinking about my own priorities all week, as luck would have it...

What would you be party to if you thought it was going to happen anyway? What if you really really wanted it? If you never met the people you were hurting, or if it seemed like you were inconsequential or irrelevant or if you really really really wanted something? What if you thought it was your one real chance for happiness?

Just to repeat,

“I’ve always argued that we would keep the Cuban embargo in place until we got to the point where it started to cost us something.”

I don't know. This morning I'm wondering how we live with ourselves at all.

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