01/06/14 - Progreso Weekly (Miami) - Oil partnership could unite Mexico and Cuba, exdiplomat says
Ricardo Pascoe Pierce
HAVANA TIMES - A former Mexican ambassador to Cuba is proposing that Mexico
and Cuba set up "a strategic partnership on matters of energy" to firm up
relations between the two countries.
The two partners would be Pemex (Petróleos Mexicanos) and Cupet (Cuba
Petróleo), writes Ricardo Pascoe Pierce in a column published Monday (Dec.
6) in the Mexican newspaper Excelsior.
Pascoe was Mexico's ambassador in Havana from 2000 to 2002, during the
administration of Mexican President Vicente Fox. He resigned his post after
Fox offended Cuban President Fidel Castro by asking him to leave a United
Nations summit in Monterrey so as not to irk U.S. President George W. Bush
with his presence.
The incident, which became known as the "you-eat-and-leave" blunder, was
one of several in 2002 that damaged relations between the two countries.
Fox also angered his Cuban hosts by meeting in Havana with dissidents
opposed to Castro.
In his column, Pascoe refers to the fact that Mexican President Enrique
Peña Nieto will travel to Havana later this month to attend the summit of
the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), a version of
the Organization of American States (OAS) without Canada and the United
Peña Nieto is likely being pressured by Washington to meet with Cuban
dissidents during his stay on the island, Pascoe writes: "Will he give in
to Washington's pressure or will he adopt a passive posture before the
"And what will the Mexican say in his official speech?" the former diplomat
wonders. Relations between Mexico and Cuba are not as friendly as in the
past "because Mexico realigned itself in the world when the Soviet Union
fell. The Free-Trade Agreement with the U.S. and Canada [NAFTA] was a
global strategic shift by Mexico, not just a trade change."
"To this day, Mexico continues to look toward the north, not the south,
regardless of the nationalistic blather you hear," Pascoe says.
His recommendation is "something more substantial to balance things. That
something-else could be a strategic partnership on matters of energy
between Cuba and Mexico.
"In the days of Fox, Cuba offered Pemex the operation of an abandoned
refinery in Cienfuegos. My recommendation at the time [...] was that it was
important to accept the offer because of [Cuba's] strategic location in the
routes of mercantile maritime traffic between Europe, the Caribbean and
"Fox and his foreign minister [Jorge Castañeda] refused to accept Cuba's
offer for ideological reasons and their commitments to Washington, which
today seem a result of shortsightedness, not of a strategic vision or the
national interest. At present, Venezuela operates the refinery," Pascoe
"Oil companies from Canada, Great Britain, Spain, China, Venezuela, Brazil
and Vietnam operate in Cuba. It would be hard to find a broader
international option. As neighboring countries on the Gulf of Mexico, we
have a common interest that can unite us.
"Pemex and Cupet could work out a beneficial partnership for the
development of both nations that would go much farther than what we have
today," Pascoe concludes.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Pascoe was a co-founder of Mexico's Revolutionary Workers
Party (PRT) and Democratic Revolution Party (PRD). He served as ambassador
to Cuba from 2000 to 2002 and has been active in Mexican politics since.
At present, he teaches at Mexico's Autonomous National University (UNAM)
and writes a political column for the newspaper Excelsior. He is the author
of "On the Edge: The Story of a Diplomatic Crisis" (Mexico City, Sin Nombre
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Original Source / Fuente Original: http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=101048
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