U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, commented on news that a U.S. delegation is traveling to Cuba to discuss Cuban regime plans to explore and drill for oil. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"By meeting with Cuban regime officials about their plans to drill for oil, U.S. officials are giving credibility to the regime's dangerous oil drilling scheme. The U.S. name will lead other governments to conclude that if the U.S. is in cahoots with the Castro's on get-rich-quick oil schemes, then there is no problem if they join in as well, further enriching the communist regime.
"The Cuban tyranny's scheme to expand its oil sector with the help of international energy giants is yet another act of desperation by a dying regime, and it directly threatens our national security and environmental interests. Unfortunately, plenty of companies seem perfectly willing to play along in order to make an immoral profit.
"The U.S. should make it clear that we oppose any and all dealings which would help Cuba become the oil tycoons of the Caribbean. I urge the Administration to cancel this delegation and instead strictly enforce current U.S. law discouraging investment in Cuba's oil sector by foreign companies."
BACKGROUND: Ros-Lehtinen introduced H.R. 2047, the Caribbean Coral Reef Protection Act, in late May. This bill would amend the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 to deny U.S. visas to aliens contributing to Cuba's ability to develop petroleum resources off its coast. The bill would also impose export sanctions and other penalties on persons and entities investing in the development of Cuba's petroleum resources.