Fidel Castro condemns fracking

2012-01-06 20:08

Havana - Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro said on Thursday the world was on an "inexorable march toward the abyss," which he blamed in part on the discovery and exploitation of vast reserves of so-called "shale gas" around the world.

Shale gas is natural gas locked in rock formations that in the past decade has been found in great abundance around the world and is now considered a top source of future energy.

Castro, 85, wrote in one of his occasional columns published in Cuban state media that "numerous dangers threaten us, but two of them - nuclear war and climate change - are decisive and both are ever further from approaching a solution".

He said he had only recently heard about the shale gas phenomenon, which has created a drilling boom in some parts of the United States, and when he asked several acquaintances both inside and outside of Cuba about the topic, "none of them had heard a word about it".

Shale gas production is criticised in some quarters because it requires extensive "fracking," which uses water, sand and chemicals to fracture the rock where the gas is trapped to allow it to flow out of the well. Fracking, opponents say, contaminates groundwater sources and can cause other problems.

Castro sided with the critics, quoting reports on the negative effects of fracking and research that said shale gas emits more greenhouse gases than gas produced from conventional wells.

"It is sufficient to point out that among the numerous chemical substances injected with the water to extract this gas is found benzene and toluene, which are substances terribly carcinogenic," he wrote.

The information on shale gas was something "no political cadre or sensible person could ignore," he said.

Castro said he was so intent on getting the word out, he had "let the festive days of the old and new year pass by" working on his column.

The column was the first he had written since Nov 13 and followed an outburst of rumours on Twitter on Monday that Castro had died.

Castro death rumours break out occasionally and this time prompted a rebuke in a Cuban government website, which blamed the rumours on "necrophiliac counter-revolutionaries".

After taking power in Cuba's 1959 revolution and transforming the country into a communist state, Castro ruled the island for 49 years before ill health and old age forced him to step aside four years ago.

He was succeeded as president by younger brother Raul Castro, 80.

  • Martin - 2012-01-06 20:32

    Comrade Castro, said something... Who cares?

      Americo - 2012-01-07 09:44

      They can thank their lucky stars he said Fracking and not ...

  • Dave - 2012-01-06 21:00

    Comrade Castro has "Fracked" (or a word to that effect) his country's economy for the last forty, YES FORTY YEARS, with the dead hand of Communism at the helm. All he had to do was allow opposition political parties to contest elections. BUT he knew he would lose the first election, so he has held his people in bondage from the day he assumed power until today.

  • Garthn - 2012-01-06 21:05

    "Younger" brother? why dont they just frack both of them

  • John - 2012-01-06 21:08

    And I condemn Fidel and Raul Castro. Not only have they destroyed Cuba, they were part of the genocide by them plus Mengistu plus Bob Gelgoff of 1,5 MILLION Ethiopians; Together with Neto and Dos Santos, 500 000 Angolans. Cuban babies killed by Abortion, 12 MILLION ( 18 M? ). Castro, at the service of Evil on Earth.

  • Nkululeko Khumalo - 2012-01-07 12:30

    80 year old "younger" brother...who needs democracy when you have a younger sibling to take over!

  • friklinde - 2012-01-07 23:58

    A good message from Fidel!

  • ludlowdj - 2012-01-09 12:36

    Most comments have nothing to do with the article....anyway, the first thing Castro has said or done in recent years that I agree with. Fracking is little more than a last ditch effort by super companies to remain in control of power utilities and profit margins. The US itself has reported declining oil production since the early 90's and at current calculations only has enough domestic crude in the ground to supply the country for the next 35 years at the current population figures, as US population growth is in the region of 7% or was in 1998, it is highly likely that the figure is more in the region of another 5 to 10 years, which of course explains their making up of reasons to invade oil producing countries.

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