U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ), Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Rep. David Rivera (R-FL) and Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), along with the support of 28 additional Members of Congress, sent a bipartisan letter to the Chairman of the Spanish oil company Repsol urging it to immediately stop its plans to partner with the Cuban regime to drill for oil off Cuba's coast. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"The decaying Cuban regime is desperately reaching out for an economic lifeline, and it appears to have found a willing partner in Repsol to come to its rescue.
"Repsol's involvement with the Havana tyranny will without a doubt support the regime, and endanger those who stand up for basic freedoms in Cuba. It will bankroll the Cuban security apparatus that violently crushes dissent.
"Judging by past dealings with rogue regimes, Repsol doesn't seem to care if its business enriches dictators. For decades, Repsol even supported the Iranian regime by investing in Iran's energy sector. They ended that only after Iran's recent brutal repression of democracy activists made partnering with Iran too toxic, even for them.
"This oil drilling scheme endangers the environment, and enriches the Cuban tyranny. Those are two huge strikes. Repsol shouldn't need a third strike to walk away from this."
NOTE: The additional Congressional signatories are: Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL), Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN), Rep. Steve Austria (R-OH), Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA), Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), Rep. John Carter (R-TX), Rep. John Barrow (D-GA), Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ), Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL), Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), Rep. Sandy Adams (R-FL), Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC), Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI), Rep. Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR), Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL), Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH), Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY), Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), Rep. Steven Rothman (D-NJ), Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY), Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Jason Altmire (D-PA) and Rep. Edward Royce (R-CA).
Text of the letter is as follows, and a signed copy may be viewed:
Text of letter here
September 27, 2011
Mr. Antonio Brufau Niubó
Paseo de la Castellana 278-280
28046, Madrid, Spain
Dear Mr. Brufau:
We are writing to express our serious concern regarding Repsol's reported plans to partner with the Castro regime to initiate exploratory deepwater drilling in Cuban waters.
As you know, the Cuban regime has been designated by the United States as a State Sponsor of Terrorism since 1982. In the most recent Country Reports on Terrorism, the State Department confirms that the Cuban regime continues to provide physical safe haven, including living, logistical, medical and ideological support to members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the National Liberation Army of Colombia, and Spain's Basque Homeland and Freedom Organization -- each of which are designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations by the United States. The Cuban regime also continues to allow U.S. fugitives to live legally in Cuba, including individuals convicted by U.S. courts for the murder of American law enforcement officials.
It is common knowledge that any foreign investment in Cuba requires joint ownership and fiscal compensation for the Havana regime. Any drilling operations that Repsol conducts in Cuban waters will provide direct financial benefit to the Castro dictatorship. Furthermore, Repsol's partnership with the Cuban regime could violate U.S. law, and may run afoul of pending legislation in the U.S. Congress.
As to current law, Repsol may be in jeopardy of subjecting itself and its affiliates to criminal and civil liability in U.S. courts. Violations of the Trading with the Enemy Act, the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act (LIBERTAD), the Alien Tort Claims Act and the Trade Sanctions Reform and Enforcement Act can lead to serious ramifications for individuals or businesses that deal with the Cuban regime. Additionally, there are only four U.S.-designated State Sponsors of Terrorism, and the laws that regulate commercial transactions with them, and the grave civil and criminal penalties that those laws impose, are comprehensive.
We urge Repsol to reassess the risks inherent in partnering with the Castro dictatorship, including the risk to its commercial interests with the United States. We respectfully ask that Repsol abandon any of its proposed oil-drilling activities in Cuban waters.