This report deals with broader issues in U.S. relations with the Caribbean and does not include an extensive discussion of Haiti and Cuba. It sheds light on the foreign relations interactions between Central American and South American countries — with coverage of the Caribbean, Cuba, Haiti and. 1 United States–Caribbean Strategic Engagement Act of , gives way to a rebooting of how U.S.-Caribbean relations are structured.
The United States and Latin America and the Caribbean: highlights of economy and trade
Caribbean governments, faced with the need to provide employment and curb poverty by growing their economies through investment in infrastructural development, found a willing partner in China. If the US worries about a Chinese voice in Caribbean ears; it should place itself in a better position to rival the voices to which the region is paying attention.
Surely, it would require much more than a handful of training opportunities, and small gifts of military equipment to a few countries, for a security threat to be posed to the US. What the US should concern itself with more is that, due to its own policies that have vastly reduced scholarships for Caribbean students and that do not encourage Caribbean students to study in the US, the present generation of younger people are getting their higher education mostly in Cuba and China which do offer generous scholarships.
Is it not axiomatic that they would lean more toward those countries than to the US? History has taught that intimidation breeds resistance over time.
And, it is co-operation that is needed, not coercion. Turning to the view of Scott MacDonald on the economic issues. De-risking directly affects US-Caribbean relations and addressing Caribbean infrastructure meaningfully would help to improve the relationship.
MacDonald offers no solutions to the problem. But, as a matter of record, the Caribbean, at various levels, have proffered a few, none of which have yet been taken-up by US authorities who see the issue through the prism of demanding higher levels of stringent anti-money laundering regimes in the region. Everything has room for improvement and the Caribbean has continuously been upping its anti-money laundering game, both in relation to laws and implementation. Factually, the majority of Caribbean countries are more in compliance with Financial Action Task Force rules on disclosure of beneficial owners of bank accounts, corporations and trusts than several states of the US.
If concerted action is not taken by the relevant US authorities to improve the situation with regard to de-risking, not only will financial transactions go underground outside the reach of governments, it will also force Caribbean countries — through no fault of their own — to move their trade in goods and services from the US to other countries. The US and Caribbean countries would see the relevance of relations differently, and a sound analysis would require far more research and study than the three brief opinions allow.
The relevance and state of US-Caribbean relations
For all that, the views on the challenges in each of the areas of security, economic and energy within the region as expressed respectively by Evan Ellis, Scott MacDonald and Anthony Bryan are worth reading. They provide a rich insight into the complexities of these issues as they obtain within the region. In his view on security issues, Evan Ellis comes closest of the three authors in laying-out a menu for the engagement required by the US.
Within the Caribbean, it is believed that criminal deportees have contributed to the increased rates of violent crime, introduced new types of crime, deepened the sophistication of criminality and generally extended the criminal repertoire of local criminals.
Political leaders, scholars and informed commentators have argued that the deported criminals were formed and developed in the US not in their country of origin. Importantly, it is also believed that deportees help to extend the criminal transnational links, and are involved in organising and facilitating the trafficking in illegal drugs and attendant firearms.
Studies within the Caribbean have revealed that within the last ten years an estimated 70, people have been deported to the region from the USA, the UK and Canada.
In relation to the size of the Caribbean population, this is a big number. In the first six months of this year, the number of criminal deportees to the Caribbean from the US has almost equalled the total deportees in The inherent vulnerabilities and capacity constraints of Caribbean states preclude them from monitoring criminal deportees who are now a growing overlay in these communities where security forces are already greatly stretched.
At the bottom line, security in the Caribbean is directly linked to economic progress, including development of human resources.
But, for the most part, US investment in the Caribbean has steadily dwindled.Is China Taking Over the Caribbean
It has been replaced by investment by countries such as China even though the region adjoins the US; not China, and the consequences of Caribbean economic deterioration would have a far more immediate impact on the US than anywhere else. The much-vaunted United States-Caribbean Strategic Engagement Act of HRpassed by the US Congress, is largely an aspirational document with a splendid vision, but it is backed by no financial or other resources that would help to implement measures for economic progress, social advancement and security in the region.
It is also not clear where the present administration stands on giving power to the Act. And Caribbean governments have not yet been able to engage the President, the Vice-President, the Secretary of State or any other Cabinet member at any level to establish exactly how they regard the region.
In his presentation, Scott MacDonald rightly identifies trade, de-risking the withdrawal of correspondent banking relations from Caribbean banks by US banks and infrastructure development as issues between the US and the Caribbean.