Rob Sequin | Havana Journal (my commentary in bold)
Still thinking about doing business in Cuba? You may want to think again.
Reuters is reporting that Cuba has declared its support for Argentina’s decision to expropriate a 51 percent controlling stake in the South American country’s largest oil company, YPF, from Spanish owned Repsol.
“Cuba reiterates its solidarity with the Republic of Argentina and that this nation has a permanent sovereign right over all its natural resources,” said a government statement, read on state-run television.
I agree. Argentina does have a “sovereign right over all its natural resources” but this is a business arrangement between YPF and it’s not like YPF put in oil wells without permission and is stealing oil from Argentina.
What does this mean? ALL businesses should RUN out of Argentina AND Cuba. Cuba is now leasing out oil blocks and has numerous contracts with companies from around the world that have rights to drill for oil in Cuba. Now ALL those companies have to worry that Cuba might expropriate their businesses too? This move has Fidel written all over it. What a shame.
President Cristina Fernandez unveiled plans on Monday to seize Repsol’s share of YPF, sparking a chorus of condemnation from Madrid to Washington and support from Venezuela and some other leftist governments in Latin America. Of course Venezuela supports this. I doubt Brazil supports this. I doubt Colombia supports this.
The brief Cuban statement accused Repsol of purchasing its controlling interest in YPF for less than its value. So it’s okay to just steal 51% of the company?
The Spanish company is a key partner of Cuba’s in its efforts to explore for oil off its northern coast in the Gulf of Mexico.
The company is currently drilling some 18 miles offshore in what has been billed as the start of exploration in a vast area thought to harbor billions of barrels of oil. I‘m sure ALL the businesses leasing Cuban oil blocks, drilling for oil or thinking about doing any oil business in Cuba are now rethinking their plans. I’ll bet this support for expropriation costs Cuba tens of millions of dollars in lost business. If Cuba supports this expropriation, why would the Cuban government not steal golf course resorts in Cuba, oil wells in Cuba, hotels in Cuba and claim its “permanent sovereign right over all its natural resources”?
(Reporting by Marc Frank; Editing by Todd Eastham)