Maggie Alarcón

The least common of the senses

In Blockade, Cuba/US, Cuban Embargo, Economics, Environment, History, Politics, Science, US on December 14, 2011 at 10:51 am


Margarita Alarcón Perea

I have a friend who is brilliant. Whenever I would say something like “but it’s just plain common sense!”, he would look down at me over his glasses and with a very, very subdued tinge of sarcasm in his voice he would whisper : “Maggie, like I’ve told you before, it’s the least common of the senses.” My friend is a physician so he should know.

Ever since the world has become dependent on oil, every single nation on the planet is ravenous in its pursuit; buy it, exploit it, own it. Cuba is not last on the list of such nations. Neither is the US as current policies have made abundantly clear.

For a very long time, Cuba was dependant on the former Soviet Union in order to acquire the oil it needs to survive under modern living standards – even the natives down here like to turn on a light switch now and again, it’s a comfy feeling -. Due to the US blockade on the island we were in the hands of the USSR for the better part of four decades. Now for approximately a little under half that time we have been dependant on Venezuela. Granted we now have something to exchange in return but still the word is ”dependant” and no one ever wants to depend for ever on anyone or anything, least of all an entire nation.

As it would be, the sun is shining on the largest island of the greater Antilles and we’ve struck oil! Well, not in the Jed Clampet surprise kind of way, but we do have a pretty clear idea that off our northern coast over towards the Gulf of Mexico, there is oil, and its ours.

What would the next logical step be? Common, think about it for a second…no? Can’t figure it out? The next logical step should have been a sit down with our closest neighbor and by chance the one that has the most to gain and lose in this scenario: the United States. That would have been the common sense step. Enter my friend the doctors wisdom.

Not only cant the US do anything with Cuba regarding this new found future enterprise of sorts from which both nations could benefit lock, stock and barrel, it actually has legislators that are doing their utmost to try to stall the course of action, and in the process they are only putting the shores of the US into more possible danger than anyone might have cared to think about.

Cuba will put up a rig, it is doing so with a Spanish company, Repsol. It is complying with all the laws around, including Helms Burton. That is not the problem. The problem is that in complying with this insane policy, in the event of a spill, the US won’t be able to help out in the least and what is worse, it may just be the greatest victim.

Common sense dictates that precisely because we have “struck” oil down here, and because the US needs more oil than it really knows what to do with, and because the Louisiana basin and the entire Southern region including the Everglades and the Florida Keys need to be protected, to vote out Helms Burton in Congress and normalize relations between both nations.

Camilo, you are so terribly right, it is the least common of the senses.

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