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Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See for full contents of our site

January 28, 2010


Daniel Kovalk, Counterpunch - This past summer, President Obama announced that he had signed an agreement with Colombia to grant the U.S. military access to 7 military bases in Colombia. As the UK's Guardian newspaper announced at the time, "the proposed 10-year lease will give the US access to at least seven Colombian bases - three air force, two naval and two army - stretching from the Pacific to the Caribbean." And, these bases would accommodate up to 800 military and 600 civilian contractors of the United States. As the Guardian explained, this announcement caused outrage in neighboring Latin American nations and "damaged Barack Obama's attempt to mend relations with the region."

This announcement also angered human and labor rights advocates in both the U.S. and Colombia as the U.S. was now solidifying a cozier military alliance with by far the worst labor and human rights abuser in the Western Hemisphere. . .

While the U.S. has claimed for years that it is fighting a drug war in Colombia, though having to sheepishly admit year after year that its ostensible efforts have not yielded any decrease whatsoever in the amount of coca grown in Colombia or cocaine exported to the U.S., the real reason for the war has always been the control of Colombia's rich oil resources.

Indeed, at a Congressional hearing in 2000, entitled "Drugs and Social Policy in Colombia" – a hearing to debate the relative merits of Clinton's new Plan Colombia, pursuant to which the U.S. has sent billions of dollars of military assistance to Colombia – one of the key witnesses invited to testify in support of this policy was none other than Lawrence Meriage, the Vice-President of Occidental Petroleum. Not surprisingly, Mr. Meriage had nothing to say about drugs or social policy in Colombia, but a lot to say about the need for military assistance to protect his oil pipelines.

Now, according to a January 19, 2010 Bloomberg article, "The Export-Import Bank of the United States [a U.S. government agency] announced Jan. 19 its approval of a $1 billion preliminary commitment to help finance the sale of goods and services from various U.S. exporters to Ecopetrol S.A., Colombia's national oil company." It should be noted that Ecopetrol is a business partner with L.A.-based Occidental Petroleum.

Citing an industry expert, the Bloomberg article goes on to explain that "Ecopetrol is being aggressive in exploration and production," and that, with the help of the financing from the Export-Import Bank, "Ecopetrol will almost double to 1 million barrels daily by 2015 as the company drills more wells in Colombia and neighboring South American nations."

World Oil - Amidst the utter devastation left in the wake of the earthquake that rocked Haiti on January 12th, new findings indicate the existence of 3 million barrels of oil in a shallow formation offshore the island.

The Greater Antilles, which includes Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and their offshore waters, probably hold at least 142 million barrels of oil and 159 billion cubic feet of gas, according to a 2000 report by the US Geological Survey. Undiscovered amounts may be as high as 941 million barrels of oil and 1.2 trillion cubic feet of gas, according to the report.

Among nations in the northern Caribbean, Cuba and Jamaica have awarded offshore leases for oil and gas development. Trinidad & Tobago, South American islands off the coast of Venezuela, account for most Caribbean oil production, according to the US Energy Department.

According to French scientist Daniel Mathurin, "The Central Plateau, including the region of Thomond, the plain of the cul-de-sac and the bay of Port-au-Prince are filled with oil". He added that "Haiti's oil reserves are larger than those of Venezuela . An Olympic pool compared to a glass of water that is the comparison to show the importance of oil Haitian compared to those of Venezuela."



Anonymous Anonymous said...

142 million barrels sounds like a big number.

The US uses about 20 million barrels per day, every day.

142 million is not very much.

The claim that Haiti has more oil than Venezuela is a claim that is remarkably free of facts. If you look closer, you will find that there have been a couple test wells drilled, but no where near enough to establish how much, if any, oil is actually in Haiti. But mere facts didn't stop this claim from speading all over leftist websites over the past two weeks. As Mark Twain said, a lie can go around the world before the truth has a chance to put its boots on.

Most people, whether leftist or not, have not a clue about the basic math of how much energy we all consume. It's not complicated math, mostly using middle school level calculations, but even that seems to be beyond the Facebook Generation.

It's probably fun to assume that the US intervention in Haiti is yet another example of oil politics. I could be wrong, but there's no actual evidence for this claim and those loudly arguing for it are full of rhetoric but not details about exploration efforts that supposedly justify this conclusion.

My guess is the main US concern for Haiti is that the Haitians might decide to all move to Miami, and the US government doesn't want that. Perhaps if they were light skinned anti-Castro Cubans they would be more welcome. Racism is again the motivation, which is not a surprise.

Mark Robinowitz
Peak Oil Wars and Global Permaculture Solutions

January 29, 2010 11:23 PM  
Blogger Peter Pnin said...

The "Haiti has more oil than Venezuela cliam: is a complete, laughably absurd fraud.

The "scientists" cited are none other than Daniel and Ginette Mathurin -- two made up (or insane) persons. If you don't believe me, see what they say here:

And for my take:

February 10, 2010 6:03 PM  

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