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Cuba: The Next Petrostate?

Cuba has been searching for oil for years; improving technology means its chances are better than ever, and a new exploratory rig offers the island nation its best hope for good economic news since communism began to eat away at the island’s hopes back in the Eisenhower administration.

Oil didn’t save communism in the Soviet Union, and it won’t save communism in the Caribbean. (I remember back in the 1980s hearing the joke in Moscow: What would happen if the Soviet Union conquered the Sahara Desert.  Answer:  Nothing for fifty years, and then a shortage of sand. Revolutionary Cuba managed to achieve shortages of sugar even faster than that.)

The foreign companies now drilling for oil and basking in the government’s favor are likely to discover what many other foreign companies in Cuba have found: that their biggest problem isn’t the US embargo, but the changing policies of a Cuban government that remains deeply suspicious of all ‘imperialists’ and ‘capitalist exploiters’.

Used wisely, an oil find could enable Cuba to make a smooth transition back to a more sustainable economic model and a less oppressive political system. Unfortunately, some of the dinosaurs in the Cuban ruling establishment will argue that the oil wealth should go to prop up the old methods up a little longer.  At least one of those dinosaurs is named Castro.

Cuba’s potential wealth lies in the creativity of its people and their intense hunger for a better life.  Its tragedy is that the government tries to crush that creativity and frustrate that hunger. This is a problem that oil can’t fix.

US policy toward Cuba is absurd, but Cuba’s policy toward Cuba is much worse.

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  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    I disagree that the US policy towards Cuba is absurd.
    “Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other.” Edmund Burke
    Cuba is our example of communism, which we hold out to the Americas as what not to do. Some nations can’t even learn with an example in front of them like Venezuela, and have to learn the hard way. But over all I think it has helped move the Americas in the direction of Democracy, Free Enterprise, and the Rule of Law. It also serves as an example of our tolerance, and adds to our soft power influence, as no one believes we couldn’t crush Cuba if we wanted too.

  • Walter Sobchak

    The time has come to remedy the errors of the past.

    Cuba is within US waters. A line drawn from San Juan to Brownsville runs through it. We never should have allowed the island to be controlled by hostile forces.

    The time has come to fix the problem. The Castro brothers need to enter an assisted living facility. The gulag needs to be emptied. The US must make this happen, peacefully if possible, but vi et armes if necessary.

    What we are short on is will. We can hope that the Fair Play for Cuba Committee is turfed out in November, but we may have to conduct an assault on the State Department.

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