Nicanor León Cotayo
As recently reported by Diario Las Américas, after an extended negotiation, the governments of Cuba and the United States reached an accord aimed at preventing oil disasters in the region.
The important compromise includes three other countries with shores in the Caribbean: Mexico, Jamaica and the Bahamas.
The agreement involves the aid by their respective ships and aircraft in the event of an oil catastrophe that could affect the region’s ecologic system.
The 60-page document is titled “An Accord about the Procedures To Respond to an Oil Spill in the Caribbean Region.”
Diario Las Américas reported from Miami that it permits joint collaboration among those who might face a tragedy such as the one experienced by the platform Deep Horizon in April 2010.
An academician from the University of Texas, Jorge Piñón, assessed the pact as transcendental, capable of dealing with an eventual disaster that might extend into waters off Florida.
What Piñón said was a blow to the ultra-right of Cuban origin in Miami, especially to its chieftains: “This is a good example of how the interests for the common good can overcome political differences.”
“This is a historic step between two countries without diplomatic ties and a five-decade-long alienation,” he said.
Observers recalled that in the past there have been small advances in the areas of drug trafficking and illegal immigration through the Straits of Florida.
Now, the new pact with Cuba and other nations will enable government or private vessels to enter each other’s territorial waters.
That clause includes the speedboats and airplanes of the Cuban Border Guards and the U.S. Coast Guard.
The mission of the two nations’ teams is to carry out reciprocal operations in each others’ territorial waters.
The enforcement of the pact could create “one more crack in the embargo,” Diario Las Américas stressed.
The newspaper argued that by saying that almost all the technology to contain and clean the aftermath of an accident belongs to a sector that is restricted by Washington.
Not only that. There is a long list of attacks of all kinds against the oil front in Cuba. One of them summarizes all the others.
On May 29, 2011, using the excuse of “protecting the coral reefs in the Caribbean,” Ileana Ros-Lehtinen introduced a bill that could have inflicted a demolishing blow to the island.
At the time, she was chairwoman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Her bill would have punished companies or individuals who might “help Cuba to develop its oil industry.”
With the backing of the ultra-right, she was trying to sabotage the exploration of oil potential off the island by international firms.
But this Friday a pact emerged, described as “transcendental and historic” by analysts and the mass media.
It was signed by Cuba, the government of the United States, and three nations also bathed by the Caribbean Sea.
Its objective is extremely humane, rational and laudable, based on concrete experiences: to prevent eventual oil spills.
Why wasn’t it possible to do this earlier? The answer contains names and laws that, to some in Washington, have universal outreach. Still and all, we must admit that, on this issue, Havana and Washington shared a goal.