U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, commented on reports that the Scarabeo 9 drilling rig will depart for Cuba from Singapore in the coming days. According to reports, the rig is owned by Italian Eni SpA's offshore unit Saipem and has been contracted by Spanish oil firm Repsol YPF as part of a consortium with Statoil (Norway) and ONGC (India). Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"Some international energy firms are eager to partner with dictatorial regimes in order to make a tidy profit. But making immoral profits now could come back to haunt these companies later. For example, after enjoying a warm and lucrative relationship with Qaddafi's Libya, Brazilian energy firms are now being given the cold shoulder by Libya's Transitional National Council.
"This should serve as a warning to companies around the world who continue to partner with dictators. Once they become free, why would those currently oppressed by the Libyan, Cuban, Iranian, Syrian, and other dictatorial regimes ever want anything to do with those who enriched their oppressors?
"These same firms have already lined up to bail out the Castro regime by building up its oil sector. Do they just not care that these deals will finance the regime's beatings and killings of innocent Cubans?
"I will be monitoring closely to ensure that any investments in Cuba oil-drilling adhere to U.S. law and are scrutinized thoroughly to ensure that investments in Cuba are not being used to make up business lost due to sanctions on Iran and Syria."
NOTE: Ros-Lehtinen is the author of the Caribbean Coral Reef Protection Act (H.R. 2047), which is designed to prevent the Cuban regime from enriching itself through the development of its petroleum industry by imposing export sanctions and other penalties on persons and entities investing in Cuba's oil sector.
Ros-Lehtinen is also the author of H.R. 2106, the Syria Freedom Support Act, which seeks to strengthen existing U.S. sanctions against the regime in Damascus.