Officials are rushing to seal an underwater oil gusher triggered after a deep-water rig operated by BP PLC exploded and sank on April 20, killing 11 people. It still is unclear whether some of the three million gallons of spilled crude could eventually reach Cuba’s shores — though government scientists have appeared on state television to say the island is not immediately at risk.
In an opinion piece published by state media yesterday, Castro said the disaster “shows how little governments can do against those who control the capital, who in both the United States and Europe are, due to the economy of our globalised planet, those who decide the destiny of the public.”
London-based BP is Europe’s second-largest oil company, though Castro did not mention it by name.
The semi-retired, 83-year-old communist leader, who often writes about environmental issues, did not comment on the slick’s possible threat to Cuba, either.
Cuba independently operates its largest oil field, the onshore Varadero field discovered by Russian scientists in 1971, but the communist government relies on energy companies from Canada, Spain, Norway, India, Malaysia and China for other drilling operations onshore or using horizontal drilling in shallow coastal waters.
Last year, Cuba began erecting a horizontal oil drilling rig in shallow waters off the north coast, its first without support from international partners.
US companies are barred by Washington’s 48-year-old economic embargo from nearly all trade with Cuba, including investment in oil exploration.
Castro also mentioned a tough new Arizona law cracking down on illegal immigrants. He offered no opinion on it, but reprinted an online article from Argentina decrying the measure.
The law makes it a state crime to be in Arizona illegally and requires authorities to check documents of people they reasonably suspect to be in the United States illegally.