The Instigator
Pro (for)
2 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
15 Points

US drilling Cuban oil

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Post Voting Period
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after 3 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/10/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 992 times Debate No: 43695
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (3)




Full resolution: The United States should drill oil on offshore Cuba.

A few things to know before this debate round begins:

1) There will be four rounds of this debate

2) The voting period will be one month

3) We will each have 72 hours to debate each round

4) We will be allotted 10,000 characters for each round

5) First round for acceptance

6) Second round both Pro and Con will present their cases

7) Third round for rebuttals

8) Fourth round will be for voting issues

9) No use of profanity will be allowed

10) Forfeit will equal a 7 point loss on that opponent’s side

If you need anything defined tell me, if you accept you will agree with all the things noted.



I accept. Good luck to all and have fun!
Debate Round No. 1


Cuba has something the US needs: billions of barrels of oil offshore. And the US has something Cuba needs: technology to retrieve it. Today I’ll make the case for comparative advantages of the environment, human rights, and US foreign policy.

Three key facts about the current system that I would like to establish:

Fact 1. Only one oil rig in the world Cuba can use:

The Scarabeo-9, a 380-foot-long (115-meter), semisubmersible behemoth that leases out for prices approaching a half-million dollars a day, steamed all the way from Asia at tremendous cost to arrive in Cuba in January. That was the only way companies could avoid sanctions under Washington's 50-year-old embargo against Cuba. The Scarabeo is the only rig of its kind built with less than 10 percent American parts — an extreme rarity in an industry where U.S. technologies play a major role.

Fact 2. Cuban oil exploration hampered:

Leasing the semisubmersible platform at an estimated cost of $500,000 a day, three separate companies from three separate nations took their turns at drilling for Cuba. In May, Spanish company Repsol sank a well that turned out nonviable. Over the summer, Malaysia's Petronas took its turn, with disappointing results. Last up was state-owned Petróleos de Venezuela. It's not unusual to hit dry holes in drilling, but the approach in offshore Cuba was shaped by uniquely political circumstances. Benjamin-Alvarado points out that some of the areas drilled did turn up oil. But rather than shift nearby to find productive—if not hugely lucrative—sites, each new company dragged the rig to an entirely different area off Cuba. It's as if the companies were only going for the "big home runs" to justify the cost of drilling, he said. "The embargo had a profound impact on Cuba's efforts to find oil."

Fact 3. Inadequate response to Cuban oil spills:

The United States government enacted stricter regulations governing deepwater drilling in U.S. waters in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and has publicly acknowledged a need to better prepare for a potential major spill in neighboring Cuban waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Yet U.S. policy still does not do enough to lessen the likelihood of such a spill or to ensure that sufficient resources will be at the ready to respond to a spill in a timely and effective manner. Beyond their geographical proximity, Cuba and the United States are tightly interconnected by ocean currents and share ecosystems such that a spill in either country could have profound impacts on fisheries, tourism, and recreation in the entire region. Yet, due to longstanding U.S. economic sanctions, international operators working in Cuba are unable to turn northward to the United States to freely access equipment and expertise in the event of an oil disaster.

The plan, to be implemented by Congress through any necessary constitutional means:

1. US embargoes on Cuba are amended to allow any activity related to offshore petroleum or natural gas development.

2. US companies will be pre-authorized to engage with Cuba in response to any marine oil spill.

3. Funding through normal means within existing budgets

4. Plan takes effect the day after an Affirmative ballot

5. Affirmative speeches may clarify the plan as needed.

Cuba wants to work with American companies

"Cubans are serious about developing their oil resources," Benjamin-Alvarado said. "They want to work with American companies and use American equipment. That reflects the work Jorge R. Pinon [a former Amoco official who recently became a research fellow at the University of Texas at Austin's Jackson School of Geoscience's Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy] and others have done to lay the foundation."

There are 3 major reasons to vote for this plan:

1) The Environment.

Our technology would reduce likelihood and impact of Cuban oil spills

If American companies with expertise in oil exploitation and protection of the environment were able to cooperate with the six oil companies that have contracts to search for Cuba's offshore resources, we would have considerably greater confidence that the latest and safest technology would reduce the environmental impact and diminish the possibility of a spill that might impact states along the Gulf of Mexico.

Cuban oil spill would be catastrophic to Florida’s economy and environment

A serious oil spill could scuttle those drilling operations — especially since Cuba hasn't the technology, infrastructure or means, like a clean-up fund similar to the $1 billion the U.S. keeps on reserve, to confront such an emergency. The dilemma for Cuba is that as much as they want the oil, they care as much if not more about their ocean resources," says Billy Causey, southeast regional director for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's marine sanctuary program. Cuba's pristine beaches and reefs attract sunbathers and scuba divers the world over, and a quarter of its coastal environment is set aside as protected. So is much of coastal Florida, where tourism generates $60 billion annually — which is why the state keeps oil rigs out of its waters. The Florida Keys lie as close as 50 miles from where Repsol is drilling; and they run roughly parallel to the 350-mile-long FRT, the world's third largest barrier reef and one of its most valuable ocean eco-systems. The FRT is already under assault from global warming, ocean acidification and overfishing of symbiotic species like parrotfish that keep coral pruned of corrosive algae. If a spill were to damage the FRT, which draws $2 billion from tourism each year and supports 33,000 jobs, "it would be a catastrophic event," says David Vaughan.

2) Human rights. Allowing US oil companies to trade with Cuba increases the opportunities for human rights and democratic reform in Cuba.

It allows US engagement with Cuba’s leaders to promote reforms

If U.S. companies are allowed to contribute to the development of Cuba’s hydrocarbon reserves, as well as the development of alternative and renewable energy (solar, wind, and biofuels), it will give the United States the opportunity to engage Cuba’s future leaders to carry out long-overdue economic reforms and development that will perhaps pave the way to a more open and representative society while helping to promote Cuba as a stable partner and leader in the region and beyond.

Cubans get a better chance for a stable, prosperous and democratic future.

Cuban officials have invited American oil companies to participate in developing their offshore oil and natural gas reserves. American oil, oil equipment, and service companies possess the capital, technology, and operational know-how to explore, produce, and refine these resources in a safe and responsible manner. Yet they remain on the sidelines because of our almost five-decades-old unilateral political and economic embargo. The United States can end this by licensing American oil companies to participate in the development of Cuba’s energy resources. By seizing initiative on Cuba policy, the United States will strategically position to play an important role in the future of the island, thereby giving Cubans a better chance for the future.

3) Enhanced US foreign policy. Engagement with Cuba increases our capability to solve other big foreign policy problems.

Today, 20 years have passed since the fall of the Berlin Wall – it’s time to chip away at diplomatic wall that still remains between U.S. and Cuba. As we seek a new foreign policy with Cuba it is imperative that we take into consideration that distrust will characterize negotiations with the Cuban government. On the other hand, consider that loosening or lifting the embargo could also be mutually beneficial. Cuba’s need and America’s surplus capability to provide goods and services could be profitable and eventually addictive to Cuba. Under these conditions, diplomacy has a better chance to flourish. If the Cuban model succeeds President Obama will be seen as a true leader for multilateralism. Success in Cuba could afford the international momentum and credibility to solve other seemingly “wicked problems” like the Middle East and Kashmir. President Obama could leverage this international reputation with other rogue nations like Iran and North Korea who might associate their plight with Cuba. The U.S. could begin to lead again and reverse its perceived decline in the greater global order bringing true peace for years to come.



The Democratic Republic of Cuba and its revolutionary vanguard party, the Communist Party of Cuba, have been known for four decades of opposing American Capitalist policies. It has been a clear fact that the Castros still have a stronghold in the Democratic Republic since the revolution of the Cuban people in 1959. The hatred between the two countries is almost comparable to Cuba's "comrade" across the sea, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The Cuban People are proud people with dignity. They will never let their old enemies from the Cold War dig oil wells in their backyards. From the flames and the bullets of the 1959 Cuban Revolution, to the Bays of Pigs Invasion and the Missile Crisis, both countries have always been in a state of war. Before I go on with my arguments, I would like to remind the readers and the opponent of the historical relations between the two countries:
1. Bays of Pigs

After the Cuban revolution of 1959, a force of 1,000 Cuban Exiles attempted to invade Cuba with the US’s support. Although President Harry Truman attempted to distance his country away from this incident, it proved one thing: the United States did not trust America, and because of this, Cuba decided to align itself towards the Soviet Union.

2. Cuban Missile Crisis

Another well known incident, the Cuban Missile Crisis started when Fidel Castro attempted to obtain nuclear weapons from its Soviet Comrades. US U2 planes spotted the nuclear sites, and the United States blockaded the Gulf of Mexico, where the Soviet ships were approaching. More distrust between the US and Cuba was flared when the US did not invite Cuba to its negotiation tables. US-Cuban tensions were at the highest at this point.

The relations between both countries highlight another fate of the newfound oil: Cuba wants its oil. Cuba is seeking energy dependence, not money, but another fate looms the United States: they want liberty and freedom, but why side up with the same party that attempted to obtain nuclear weapons? Why drill oil for a country that called capitalist America “filthy, gross and alienating”? Why drill oil for a country which ultrapatriotic President John F. Kennedy criticized for “threatening the tranquility of the American people”? These are questions that we must think about before going on about money and supply of energy.

Firstly, I would like to respond to some of the opponent’s points.
1. Environmental

Environmentally, Cuba is a beautiful country. Cuba is home to a large number of species, many of them endangered. Looking for oil in Cuba would endanger not only animals, but the entire Cuban population as oil drilling pressures the tectonic plates to move, and this pressure would likely create earthquakes. An example of this phenomenon has been found in Indonesia, where a 6.5 Richter Earthquake’s epicenter was traced to an oil well. The opponent has also stated that “an oil spill in Florida” would severely damage the popular tourist locations, but I would like to state that there are already three foreign companies, many of them credible, who already own deep sea wells in Cuba. I would like to also state that two of them, Petronas and PdVSA, are state-owned companies. According to the Petronas Website, the company subscribes to OSRL. In 2011, the company also launched an oil spill preparedness work shop for oil spill managers from all over the world, and Petronas is a very capable company with preventing oil spills. Therefore, the threat of an “oil spill in Florida” would be severely limited by the fact that Petronas and other credible companies are drilling there, but also by the lack of commercial oil these wells produced. There are two other wells that remain unexplored, but these also lack the potential of being oil rich wells. Also, US technology does not necessarily reduces the likelihood of an oil spill happening.

Another problem that oil companies in Cuba face is a simple but powerful problem; there simply isn’t any oil of enough quantity to provide a significant boost in Cuba. In May 29, 2013, the Russian Company Zarubezhneft has decided that it would give up on the search for oil. The other oil well, in shallow water, is only 300 miles away from Havana, which would make an oil spill a big environmental and economical tragedy. Unlike a deep sea oil leak, shallow water oil leaks would have diverse effects, as seen in the Montara Disaster; the first effect is economical, aka tourism would decline and fish caught would decrease, and as in the case of the Montara Incident, which affected 7,000 fishermen. The second affect is environmental; after the Montara oil spill, two species of bird and their health were immensely affected. The opponent states that US technology would reduce the likelihood of an oil spill, but US technology doesn’t eliminate the threat of an oil spill. It would be of the US’s best interest, therefore, to discourage any more oil exploration, as an oil spill would be disastrous towards the United States and Cuba.


The opponent states that sending private companies to a resourceful communist styled country would help the current Cuban regime change and turn into a more democratic and liberal government. However, in other interventions, such as the one at Iraq, in which the United States intervened to protect US interests there or even the US’s Occupation of Cuba in 1900, there was no political liberty and democracy afterwards. US companies in Cuba would be affected by both government intervention and the uncertainty of actually finding oil there. Without any doubts, companies are there to make money, not to benefit the political status of that particular country anyhow.

Also, the opponent has stated that “since the fall of the Berlin Wall, relations between communist countries and non-communists were liberalized”, but yet tensions between Cuba and the US are still high. The United States ending years of embargo against the communist government of Cuba would only threaten the United State’s tranquility, as by doing this, they are giving the Cuban Regime recognition as the true regime of the people, and would encourage communists elsewhere to rise. This would also face huge domestic opposition, as USA is renowned for being the world’s best Anti-Communist country. The opponent uses the “Cuban Model” as a name, but it literally means sending private US companies to other countries, and using the benefits of that country to benefit the US and only the US. It is against Cuba’s will to let American companies come and exploit the workers of Cuba; if Cuba wants to be a truly working-based state, then it must oppose such a move.

We cannot set history aside; we can only learn from it. And history has taught us that man's need for wealth and energy to satisfy his senses will likely lead to disasters, especially from an enemy. Therefore, it would be of both country's best interest to not drill oil in Cuba, as the environment would be threatened and hopes of political reform would be shadowed because of the nature of US companies.

Due to other problems, I am unable to post a full response today. I hope this would be adequate for the opponent to rebut on. Thank you.

Debate Round No. 2


SPENCERJOYAGE14 forfeited this round.


Extend for now. I shall come back with my Blitzkrieg later.
Debate Round No. 3


SPENCERJOYAGE14 forfeited this round.


Do I win?
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Kc1999 2 years ago
Haha this debate would've done you well
Posted by lnhsjayhawk 2 years ago
idk if this is why you guys picked this topic but we have the Cuban Embargo as our Policy topic in debate class (Even though I do LD)
Posted by Kc1999 2 years ago
There are Chinese Private Companies, and there is no evidence of Chinese Businesses in Cuba.
Posted by markuswashere 2 years ago
Two things I must say to Con, Cuba is not a "Democratic Republic", it is officially the Republic of Cuba. Also, American businesses trade with Chinese businesses, of which is run by the Communist Party of China.
Posted by SPENCERJOYAGE14 2 years ago
Thanks. :)
Posted by birdlandmemories 2 years ago
Good luck to you both.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Wylted 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: According to the agreed debate rules forfeit equals 7 point loss.
Vote Placed by birdlandmemories 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro broke rule 10 of the debate.
Vote Placed by Sagey 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:21 
Reasons for voting decision: Don't know why Pro Forfeited, was doing okay, know little about Cuban history and oil, was getting a nice education there. Pro lost points on forfeiting (conduct), while Con lost on the lack of Sources. Though Pro backed up arguments with sources, making them more convincing. Hope Pro is Okay, noticed Pro has left D.o. thus the forfeit.