On July 5, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), which comprises twelve Anglophone Caribbean states plus Haiti and Suriname, held its forty-third Heads of Government Meeting, the community’s principal political organ. The meeting’s agenda focused on the recurring energy and food crises faced by these small states due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Specifically on the energy front, a unified CARICOM collectively asked for help from authoritarian Venezuela through PetroCaribe, a geo-economic tool created in 2005 by the late President Hugo Chávez to buy CARICOM’s loyalty by financing participants’ oil imports and increasing intra-bloc trade and investment. In exchange, the highly democratic CARICOM ignored Venezuela’s descent into authoritarianism and shielded the regime from condemnation in multilateral organizations like the Organization of American States (OAS).
After the 2014 global oil price slump, chronic fiscal mismanagement, and U.S. sanctions, the ability of President Nicolás Maduro to buy CARICOM’s support virtually disappeared. However, given CARICOM’s current urgency for cheap oil and leveling off in Venezuela’s oil production, PetroCaribe is likely to return from the dead. The re-marriage of CARICOM and Venezuela will likely hurt democracy prospects in the South American nation and, critically, continue to show the United States’ hegemonic decline in the hemisphere.
Party First Secretary and President of the Republic Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez yesterday conversed with Latin American intellectual Atilio Boró in a radio interview, discussing Cuba’s creative resistance in the face of continuing U.S. attacks and imperialist threats around the world
“We are not going to surrender, we are going to continue resisting, but with the concept of creative resistance, which is precisely the way in which we have faced COVID-19, that is, we resist, but with talent, effort and intelligence, we also grow; as we resist, we are capable of advancing.”
This observation was among those shared by Communist Party First Secretary and President of the Republic Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, in an interview with Latin American intellectual Atilio Borón, for the Argentine radio stations Madres de la Plaza de Mayo and the Universidad Nacional de Avellaneda, also broadcast on several community radio stations in Venezuela, Argentina, Ecuador and elsewhere.
US policy towards Latin America and the Caribbean continued in a seamless transition from Trump to Biden, but the terrain over which it operated shifted left. The balance between the US drive to dominate its “backyard” and its counterpart, the Bolivarian cause of regional independence and integration, continued to tip portside in 2021 with major popular electoral victories in Chile, Honduras, and Peru. These follow the previous year’s reversal of the coup in Bolivia.
Central has been the struggle of the ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America) countries – particularly Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua – against the asphyxiating US blockade and other regime-change measures. Presidential candidate Biden pledged to review Trump’s policy of US sanctions against a third of humanity. The presumptive intention of the review was to ameliorate the human suffering caused by these unilateral coercive measures, considered illegal under international law. Following the review, Biden has instead tightened the screws, more effectively weaponizing the COVID crisis.
The World Bank classifies most of the Caribbean islands as middle-income or high-income countries, and the UN Human Development Index is generally categorised as high across the region (2018 values range between 0·7 and 0·8).
Despite these positive development indicators, the Caribbean small island developing states share a common set of environmental, economic, and social vulnerabilities because of their absolute size and geographical remoteness.
The resources available to individual small island developing states limits their capacity to prepare for, and respond to, acute environmental and health emergencies. The Global Health Security Index—measuring the national capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to public health emergencies—is below 40·0 across the Caribbean (average of 32, range 24–38) against a global average of 40·2 and an average among high-income nations of 51·9.
Several Caribbean island countries have expressed the gratitude of their peoples with a warm welcome as Cuban doctors arrive, offering a helping hand with invaluable medical support to the battle against Covid-19, as a gesture of solidarity.
It was already late into the night in the Lesser Antilles when an airplane landed on the main island of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to deliver its precious human cargo, Cuban health professionals arriving to help.
At the foot of the plane’s stairway, stood Ralph Gonsalves, Premier and dear friend of the Cuban Revolution, who stepped forward to receive them, and found no other words for welcome and gratitude than to evoke the founding fathers of Cuba’s vocation for healing. He thanked “the Cuba of Fidel and Raul”, and President Díaz-Canel, the “continuator.”Read More »
The United States should daily bow before Haiti and thank it for the lessons it taught in how to conceptualize and create a democratic political and social order.
The democratic, nation-building debt the U.S. nation owes the Caribbean, and the Haitian nation in particular that resides at its core, is not expected to be repaid but must be respected. Any nation without a nominal notion of its own making can never comprehend the forces that fashion its origins.
On Sunday June 11, Puerto Ricans will vote on whether or not to remain an Associated Free State of the United States.Photo: AFP
SAN JUAN.— In San Juan, chants of “the debt is illegal” and “colonial dictatorship” fill the morning air, as students from the University of Puerto Rico block a palm-lined avenue.
Across the street, a board of overseers imposed by Washington is meeting with student representatives to hear their demands as they mull ever deeper cuts to pull this “Greece of the Caribbean” out of bankruptcy.
To some, it’s a necessary corrective to get a stumbling Puerto Rico back on its feet.Read More »
Why is the reparations movement in the Anglophone Caribbean not putting capitalism on trial in its campaign to force British imperialism to provide financial compensation for its industrial and agricultural capitalists’ enslavement of Africans? To what extent is capitalism such a sacred spirit or god whose name should not be publicly called in order to avoid attracting its vindictive and punishing rebuke? Are the advocates of reparations truly convinced that British imperialism’s payment of financial compensation for the enslavement of Africans would end the economic marginalization of the labouring classes who are toiling under capitalist regimes throughout the region? Why are we willing to place racism or white supremacy in the dock but not its creator – capitalism?