Cuba will allow Russia to look for oil and gas in its territorial waters. Environmentalists cringe, but the industry says its time for the US to look for more oil in the Gulf of Mexico, too.
Now, there is the possibility of Russian oil rigs even closer, drilling in Cuban waters off the Gulf of Mexico.
Environmental groups say it's a bad idea. But pro-oil drilling organizations think the Cuban proposal should send a message that if other nations are willing to open up their offshore waters, so should the US. And, it's prompted at least one Florida mayor to volunteer to go to Havana to talk about environmental concerns.
"It does present a dilemma for the US," says Wayne Smith, a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy in Washington. "But, as long as it's in Cuba's economic zone, we may not like it but there is little we can do about it."
It may not just be Russian oil rigs heading for the tropics. Mr. Smith, a long time Cuba expert, says the Cubans are also talking to the Chinese and Brazilians.
This prospect has prompted Key West mayor Morgan McPherson to volunteer to go to Havana in the first US-Cuban exchange on the environment.