Saturday, February 04, 2006

Mexico City: Cuba-US Meeting on OIl Disrupted by US

In another sign of the tightening enforcement of the illegal and immoral embargo on Cuba, the US forced a Mexico City Sheraton hotel to expel Cuban oil experts from the premises, at the beginning of a meeting between US companies interested in Cuban oil prospects.

As no one can remember a similar case of Cubans being kicked out of any hotel in any part of the world due to US pressure, it appears the US was particularly upset at the possibility of US companies seeking involvement in the burgeoning Cuban oil sector (where Spanish, Canadian, Indian and Norweigen companies already are at work).

This comes, of course, on the heels of Bush's State of the Union address which rejected isolationism and promised new steps to ease US reliance on Middle Eastern oil. Cuba's oil reserves in the Gulf of Mexico have just begun being explored, but early results were promising last year.

On the day, Cuban officials announced plans to double their drilling capacity and explore for oil in the waters off the Caribbean island. But U.S. corporations, their hands tied by the embargo, have been forced to watch the flurry of activity taking place less than 60 miles off the coast of Florida.

Oilmen Meet With Cubans in Mexico, but U.S. Intervenes
February 4, 2006 - THE NEW YORK TIMES

...The request was made by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign
Assets Control, which told Starwood Hotels, the owner of the Sheraton
Maria Isabel in Mexico City, that American law prohibited it from
supplying services to Cuban individuals or companies.
The move is the
latest in what seems be a hardening by the Bush administration of the
45-year trade embargo against Cuba...

Raul Perez, who led the 16-member Cuban delegation sent to the meeting, said they were asked to leave the Sheraton without a refund.

"It's outrageous that I, as an American citizen, can't go and talk to
someone on Mexican soil," said Kirby Jones, a former World Bank
official and the organizer of the meeting for the U.S.-Cuba Trade
Association, a nonprofit group in Washington.


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