U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement today on the news that an offshore oil well drilled in Cuban waters by Russia's Gazprom and Malaysia's Petronas has failed to produce commercially-viable oil:
"Once again, the Castro brothers' dreams of becoming the oil tycoons of the Caribbean have encountered a serious setback, as the offshore SCARABEO 9 rig came up dry. Unfortunately, the reckless practice of rogue regimes drilling so close to Florida waters will continue as the oil rig is transferred to Hugo Chavez' state-owned PDVSA, and as the Obama Administration continues to do nothing to prevent such schemes from moving forward.
"An oil discovery would give the Cuban dictatorship an influx of cash that it desperately needs and will provide this dictatorial regime with the means to further oppress its people and work against our national security interests. As the possibility for the regime to find an economic lifeline through petroleum riches diminishes, the harm done by Administration policies which benefit the regime is magnified. I urge the Administration to reverse its failed policies which have helped prop up the Castro tyranny, and also work to prevent Cuba, Venezuela, and others from drilling for oil so close to our shores."
NOTE: Ros-Lehtinen is the author of HR 6067, the Western Hemisphere Security Cooperation Act, which amends 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.