Cuba Prepares to Prevent the Arrival of Oil from the Gulf of Mexico

18.06.2010 Source: Pravda.Ru

http://english.pravda.ru

In the 58 days since the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon platform
in the Gulf of Mexico, Cuba began to prepare to deal with the
possible arrival of oil on the shores of the island, as a consequence
of the environmental accident. The spill is considered the worst in
U.S. history. Since its occurrence on the 20th of April, no timeframe
for its resolution has presented itself.

"We're preparing to do everything in our power, and of course accept
support from those who have more experience with it. There is no
other solution," said the deputy defense minister of Cuba, General
Ramon Espinosa, who was quoted by the Venezuelan news agency ABN
(Bolivarian News Agency).

Until now, the populations affected are Louisiana, Mississippi,
Alabama and Florida (states that have coasts on the Gulf). But
projections by the U.S. Coast Guard consider it inevitable that Gulf
currents will carry oil to the island. The Cuban coast is 145 km from
Florida. Currently, oil slicks are 160 km northwest of the country.
Each day about 800,000 liters of oil is leaked into the Gulf of
Mexico.

The beaches of Cuba are one of the main attractions of the country,
besides being the habitat of several animals, some endangered.

"It would be a disgrace to Cuba, but we are preparing," said the
deputy minister for VIII International Congress on Disasters, that
took place between this Tuesday (15 / 6) and Friday (18 / 6) in
Havana and involved 350 delegates from 37 countries.

Some of the preventive measures employed on the Cuban coast will be
monitoring and training for the population living in regions that may
be affected, said the head of Civil Defense of Cuba, General Ramon
Pardo, according to Cuban news agency Prensa Latina.

Experience

According to Espinosa, Cuba needs more experience to deal with oil
spills and will support Venezuela. In the past, the Caribbean country
dealt with small oil spills caused by vessels that were near the
coast.

The head of Cuba's Civil Defense said that teams of Venezuelan
specialists are already on the way to Cuba to help in the preparation
process.

"Venezuelans are specialists, they have 100 years of experience in
exploring oil. We do not have much, and certainly we have to
appreciate this experience," he said.

Monitoring

There are still no oil exploration operations off the coast of Cuba.
The Spanish company Repsol YPF is expected to begin drilling between
late 2010 and early 2011.

According to Spanish news agency Efe, the governments of Havana and
Washington are in contact through the U.S. Interest Section in
Havana, to monitor the progress of the leak.

Source: Opera Mundi
Translated from the Portuguese version by:
Lisa KARPOVA
PRAVDA.Ru