My Little Brother, BP, Financial Compensation . . . and Cuba?

Cayo Jutia

By Ted Henken, publisher of El Yuma blog

For a few years now I've been hoping that my little brother, Tim, who has never finished college would get a stable, well paying job.

I remember that he had steady employment for the year following Hurricane Ivan cleaning up debris and then again following Katrina.

We are from the Gulf Coast -- the City of Pensacola -- known as much for being the capital of the Redneck Riviera as for being home to "the worlds whitest beaches" -- or so goes one of the city's oldest billboards that lies at the foot of the bridge welcoming visitors to Pensacola Beach.

In order to preserve that second distinction, Tim was just hired by...

You guessed it: BP!

Today he informed me that he will soon start work cleaning BP's oil off of our once pristine beaches.

Lesson: Be careful what you wish for!

This gives new meaning to the twin phrases "get a job" and "stimulus plan."

So what's all this got to do with Cuba? Well, if (or when) this oil starts washing up on the beaches of the Caribbean and especially Cuba, will BP also be required (or allowed) to pay Cuban workers to engage in the clean up and/or compensate the Cuban government for damages to its beaches and tourism industry?

What does the embargo say about all this and how would its supporters (especially the Cuban-American ones) consider this eventuality?

I've even got a friend down in Cuba just now doing a pre/post environmental assessment of the situation on the ground there. We'll see what she tells us and if there is potential for any coordination or collaboration between the two governments on this issue.

2010 has already given us two environmental/humanitarian examples of the benefit of and need for ongoing collaboration at least in terms of these issues that clearly impact both countries together.

Earthquakes, hurricanes, and oil spills do not respect national frontiers or discriminate between political systems.