U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced the Caribbean Coral Reef Protection Act (H.R. 2047). This legislation will impose penalties against companies and individuals assisting Cuba in the development of its petroleum industry, including in waters dangerously close to the Florida Keys. You may click here to view bill text and click here to view a summary of the bill. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"Desperate for new channels of funding, the Cuban tyranny will say and do anything to persuade others to invest in its oil sector in order to stay afloat. It is in our national security interests to deter others from participating in these reckless schemes.
"This legislation will deny U.S. visas to any individuals investing more than $1 million in Cuba's petroleum sector, and makes it illegal for any U.S. citizen to help the regime explore for drilling opportunities in Cuban waters.
"In addition to protecting American waters and coastlines, this bill will deny the Cuban regime an opportunity to fill its own coffers with oil money while they continue to oppress and abuse the Cuban people and undermine the security interests of the U.S.
"We cannot allow the Castro regime to become the oil tycoons of the Caribbean. I will continue to work with my Congressional colleagues to prevent oil drilling by the Cuban regime, which poses a national security and environmental threat to the United States."