Vive Le Canada

CARICOMís CSME vis-ŗ-vis NAFTA, CAFTA, FTAA and the EU
Date: Wednesday, November 09 2005

CARICOMís CSME vis-ŗ-vis NAFTA, CAFTA, FTAA and the EU

by Anthony Livingston Hall, a Turks & Caicos Islands descendant, Washington lawyer and consultant to the former President of the United States, Bill Clinton, who publishes his own Internet Weblog at offering a Caribbean perspective on international events

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Heads of State (with the conspicuous exception of Cubaís Fidel Castro) met for the Fourth Summit of the Americas in Argentina last weekend. For the invariably marginalised CARICOM delegates, however, this summit proved as inconsequential as usual.

In fact, the only noteworthy thing about this yearís gathering was the incendiary rhetoric by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez that ignited street riots and the utterly incomprehensible destruction of Argentine businesses by Molotov cocktail-throwing anti-Bush protesters.

As for summit matters, it is patently clear that major players in the Americas (i.e., the U.S. Canada, Mexico and Venezuela) have little regard for the geopolitical concerns of the (individual) member states of CARICOM; and, the governments of these former English colonies have only themselves to blame.

Yet, with almost Pavlovian consistency, CARICOM leaders deflect blame for our marginalisation on American hegemony. And in Hugo Chavez they now have a putative colonial master who seems all too willing to provide political and economic shelter for them to continue wagging their tails in blissful isolation.

For their part, though diplomatic protocol precludes their saying so publicly, Bush Administration officials regard our leaders as impudent ingrates who are being marginalised for pursuing policies that are hostile to Americaís interests; For example, by:

Undermining efforts by former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell to resolve the recent political crisis in Haiti and even accusing the U.S. of orchestrating a coup díetat against then President Bertrand Aristide; and

Strengthening diplomatic and economic ties with perennial U.S. nemesis Cuba whilst accepting sweetheart investments from China - in return for severing diplomatic ties with perennial U.S. ally Taiwan.

But, whatever the merit of these policies, CARICOM leaders have not inspired much regard for (or confidence in) their authority by proving almost as feckless as African leaders in dealing with regional problems (like drug trafficking and Haitian immigration).

Moreover, despite legitimate complaints about Americaís arbitrary and capricious exercise of its super power, internecine squabbles amongst CARICOM members are primarily responsible for our marginalisation.

Indeed, our failure to integrate our economies after 47 years of negotiations stands as a monumental and unprecedented achievement in political futility.

And, this failure is all the more pathetic when one considers that CARICOM leaders have allowed the common heritage and economic challenges that bind us to be perverted into the divisive xenophobia and rabid nationalism that once characterized the warring nation-states of old Europe.

°Ay Caramba!

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This article comes from Vive Le Canada

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