(CBS) Cuba’s civil defense chief said Tuesday that authorities are preparing coastal residents for the oil spill fouling the Gulf of Mexico, and a top military official said its possible arrival would be “a disaster.”
It still is unclear whether some of the millions of gallons of spilled crude will reach Cuba, though government scientists appeared on state television within days of the April 20 rig explosion that touched off the spill to say the island was not immediately at risk.
So far there has been no apparent impact on tourism to the island’s breathtaking north coast beaches.
“In Cuba we have had small spills involving tankers on our coasts, but we’ve never had to confront anything of this magnitude,” Gen. Ramon Espinosa, vice minister of the armed forces, said at a government meeting on natural disaster preparedness. “Nonetheless we are documenting and studying. We are preparing with everything in our power.”
Espinosa provided no details on preparations, but added that “for Cuba it would be a disaster” if the spill hits.
Some oil has already reached the coast of Florida, and scientists worry that crude will get caught up in the loop current, a ribbon of warm water that begins in the Gulf of Mexico and wraps around Florida.
U.S. and Cuban officials have put aside nearly 50 years of frigid relations to hold working-level talks on how to respond. Espinosa said he had no information on any concrete cooperation.
Speaking on the sidelines of the same event, Ramon Pardo, head of Cuban civil defense, also said he could not comment on discussions with Washington.
But Pardo said Havana “is taking all precautions: the preparation of the coast, vigilance, creating all necessary conditions, preparing the people who live on the coasts that could be impacted.”
Both Espinosa and Pardo said the island will rely on the expertise of Venezuela, one of Cuba’s top allies and a major oil producer.
(CL) A document published in Gramma newspaper released that USA government announced strengthening of security measures in those airports and more rigorous inspection to passengers coming from 14 nations, among them Cuba, accused of backing terrorism.
Cuban travellers arriving to US Airports will be subjected to rigorous security controls.
A document published in Gramma newspaper released that USA government announced strengthening of security measures in those airports and more rigorous inspection to passengers coming from 14 nations, among them Cuba, accused of backing terrorism.
The newspaper explained that the decision, as part of the antiterrorist paranoia living in that nation, is part of a campaign to implement long-term sustainable security measures in compliance with the new regulation of the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
A top official told the AFP news agency that the regulations involve all travelers coming from that 14 nations including besides Cuba Iran, Sudan and Syria and other nations like Afghanistan, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen.
The new regulation concern to all airlines, from US or not, and is in force since last Sunday midnight in United States.
A political information website citing a government top official said that the 100 percent of passengers coming from those countries will be subjected to a complete and close body search and manual search of their personal belongings.