Oil in Cuba Worries U.S.

oil-drillingIn a move that has the U.S. worried, a Spanish oil company’s deep-water rig is making its way toward the Gulf of Mexico and waters just off Cuba to drill for commercially exploitable quantities of oil beneath the island’s waters.

The worry for President Obama?

What to do about it.

As reported by Al Jazeera‘s Jim Lobe, the discovery of oil for Cuba may “provide a windfall for Havana that will be used to help sustain the Communist government led by President Raul Castro.”

As sustenance of Cuba is something the U.S. has spent the last half-century attempting to thwart, the progress of this oil drilling will no doubt be watched closely by President Obama, as well as anti-Castro Cuban-Americans and other right-wing lawmakers, environmental and anti-embargo groups, and business associations that want to increase trade with Havana.


Do you see the discovery of oil in Cuba as a positive or negative outcome?


World News Wednesday

Diary of an American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land (Excerpt 2)

U.S. 2005

August 23

Just received some paperwork in the mail from [organization I’m traveling to Cuba with: legality = can’t use official name – henceforth, to be called SPOOCR (Stop Pissing On Our Constitutional Rights‘) pronounced ‘Spooker‘ because it’s damn scary that our government has selectively revoked our constitutional right to travel freely, and we’re okay with that].

There are forms to fill out for arrangements of our flight to Jose Martí Airport in Havana. There’s also a shitload of questions that require answers for the OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) license under which I’m granted monitored and restricted travel to this forbidden land.


The questions are pages long…

What is my birth country? Birth city? My mother’s birth country? My father’s birth country? What is my gender? My height? My weight? My hair, eye, skin color (called “ethnicity” with the instruction to “be as specific as possible”)?

What is my occupation? Why did I choose this occupation? What was my previous occupation? Why did I change occupations?

For what reason do I want to travel to Cuba?

I’m guessing that neither ‘I don’t know’ nor ‘Just to see’ will qualify as an acceptable answer for this American Inquisition.

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Diary of an American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land (Excerpt 1)

U.S. 2005

July 28 


Photo: Sylver Blaque / Pinar del Rio, Cuba

I’m going to Cuba!

Even after our government has (once again) tightened the stranglehold of the embargo.

Even after Bush has issued the order for all Americans to leave Cuba and return to the United States by midnight on July 31st under threat of unaffordable fines, and implied jail time.

And even after every American who knows I’m going has warned me that I’ll be arrested and tortured by Castro, or arrested and punished by our own government. Hmm…’tortured’ by Communists, or ‘punished’ by Homeland Security.

Both sound deadly.

Neither threat deters me.

I’m going to Cuba!

I’m not exactly sure why I’m going. But I am sure it has something to do with being ordered not to. In a democracy, there’s something blatantly un-democratic about being ordered by your government not to travel somewhere.

With a handful of exceptions, Americans haven’t been allowed – by our own government – to travel to Cuba for almost half a century. But this latest tightening of the embargo vise – this dictatorial presidential overriding of my constitutional right to travel freely – has me suddenly curious about why.

Why can’t I go to Cuba if I want to?

And why is this bothering me now?

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