The Other Side of Paradise

The Caribbean continues to be a site of intense transformation, resilience, and resistance due to the ever-increasing pressures of market-led globalization. In an era where traditional economies have been broken, today the Caribbean faces new and unique problems in addition to the historic legacies of foreign intervention and underdevelopment. This blog provides a critical analysis on both the problems and possibilities for progressive political and social change throughout the region—incorporating contributions from those putting ideas into action to keep the region moving forward.

The Creeping Decriminalization of Marijuana in the Caribbean
May 23, 2014
Participants at this week’s Jamaica Cannabis Conference are doing more than just blowing smoke—they are discussing the upcoming stages of a long-overdue and vital transformation of the Caribbean’s regional economy.
After 34 Years, Walter Rodney's Assassination in Guyana now Under Review
May 7, 2014
The new Commission of Inquiry (COI), which began in Guyana on April 28, will provide a chance for the PNC government to finally set the historical record straight regarding the assassination of Walter Rodney.
El Chapo's Arrest: Money Laundering and Mexico's Drug War
Apr 25, 2014
El Chapo's arrest may be hailed as a victory for the war on drugs, but the real players continue to operate with impunity behind the scenes. U.S. banks' money laundering helps finance the drug trade. 
Protest Coverage in Haiti and Venezuela Reveals U.S. Media Hypocrisy
Feb 21, 2014
The international media’s escalation of the Venezuelan crisis, and their complete silence regarding Haiti, highlights U.S. inconsistency in upholding the values of human rights and democracy.
Venezuela Chairs Committee on Draconian Anti-Haitian Citizenship Ruling
Jan 21, 2014
The most well known Venezuelan assistance to Haiti has come in the form of Venezuela's PetroCaribe program. But as the neighboring Dominican Republic passes controversial immigration control measures, Venezuela’s support has grown to encompass diplomatic assistance as well.    
Q&A with Raul Burbano, Canadian Electoral Observer in Honduras
Dec 4, 2013
Raul Burbano is the Program Director for Common Frontiers Canada, a multi-sectoral working group based in Toronto that organizes research, educational campaigns, and political action on issues related to hemispheric economic, social, and climate justice. He shares his thoughts and experiences after returning from Honduras as an official member of Canada's electoral observer delegation.
Honduran Election Results Contested by International Observers
Nov 27, 2013
Honduras’ elections on November 24 had the potential of reversing some of the worst pro-market, anti-people policies put forward by the government of Porfirio Lobo, who was the direct beneficiary of the 2009 coup that ousted the left-of-center Manuel Zelaya. Instead, the elections have been fraught with irregularities and violent intimidation.
Cuba’s Reforms Favor Foreign Investment, Create Low-Wage Sponge
Oct 30, 2013
For over 50 years the island of Cuba has defiantly stood its ground in the Caribbean, rejecting a capitalist economic model in favor of a system that has served the needs of its people, first, and those of the international economy, a distant second. It is primarily for this reason that Cuba’s decision to establish an export processing zone at the port of Mariel has been met with a great deal of concern.
Forced Evictions in Haiti's Top-Down Post-Earthquake Reconstruction
Oct 23, 2013
It has been almost four years since Haiti was hit by the 7.0 earthquake which left over 100,000 dead and an estimated 1.5 million people homeless. For the 278,000 internally displaced people who currently remain in the tent camps, they have been living an extremely precarious existence without access to the most basic services, and they are constantly under the threats of exposure to cholera and forced evictions.
Grenada Preparing Unique Approach to Debt Restructuring
Oct 16, 2013
While it is still early in the process, it appears that Grenada is embarking on a hopeful quest to restructure its debt without undertaking the traditional demands of significant cuts to public sector budgets and widespread privatization programs. What makes Grenada’s position important is that the government has not been negotiating with the IMF in the traditional antidemocratic manner.  Instead, the people are playing a crucial role in this consulation.
Dominican Republic “Denationalization” Program Seeks to Strip Citizenship from Haitian Descendants
Oct 3, 2013
The recent decision by the Dominican Republic to retroactively revoke the citizenship of an estimated 300,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent raises numerous legal, moral, and humanitarian concerns. This reactionary decision is founded on the combination of a troubling culture of anti-Haitian racism and a downplay of the Dominican Republic's continued demand of migrant labour in its agricultural, construction, and tourist industries.
Cuba’s Other Internationalism: Angola 25 Years Later
Sep 27, 2013
This October will mark the 25th anniversary of the battle of Cuito Cuanavale – what Isaac Saney has called “Africa’s Stalingrad” due to its central role in striking a fatal blow against the occupation of South West Africa (now Namibia) and kick-starting negotiations with the African National Congress which would soon put an end to the rule of the racist apartheid system in South Africa.
Restoration of the Haitian Army: Martelly Keeps One Campaign Promise
Sep 19, 2013
Earlier this week it was announced that the first contingent of Haitian soldiers had returned from Ecuador after completing their training.  This announcement has understandably been met with concern, as Haiti’s relationship with its armed forces has been a tortured history of internal repression, consisting of human rights abuses and coup d’états.
Should the Caribbean Follow Uruguay’s Marijuana Policy?
Sep 5, 2013
Against the wishes of the prevailing drug control regime, last month the government of Uruguay took the first steps to legalize marijuana. Against the backdrop of the failed War on Drugs, it is about time that the countries of the Caribbean come forward with their own individual policies on marijuana which reflects their own national security and development interests—instead of those of the United States.
U.S. Aid to St. Lucian Police Suspended over Human Rights Violations
Aug 28, 2013
Last week it was announced that the U.S. State Department had suspended aid to St. Lucia’s police department due to allegations of serious human rights abuses.  It has also had the unintended result of exposing the double standard of the U.S. when it comes to problems of police engaging in extrajudicial killings throughout the region.
Chiquita Playing the Victim Card in Latest Legal Battle
Aug 21, 2013
According to Michael Evans, Director of the Colombia Project at the National Security Archives, "This may well be the most important collection of records ever assembled on corporate ties to terrorism.  This was a massive, years-long investigation that involved multiple federal agencies and resulted in the one of the first convictions of a major US company of financing a terrorist group.”
Haitian Senate Committee Calls for President Martelly to be Charged with High Treason
Aug 15, 2013
The fallout from the suspicious death of Judge Jean Serge Joseph on July 13 has created a political firestorm for Haitian President Michel Martelly – the likes of which he has not seen during his tumultuous rule. A recently released Senate report calls for Martelly to be charged with high treason for his role in interfering with a high profile corruption case.
CARICOM Moves Forward with Reparations Committee
Aug 8, 2013
At the 34th meeting of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on July 6, a British human rights law firm has been contacted by CARICOM to to seek compensation from some European countries for the horrors of African slavery and the genocide of the region’s native peoples.
Controversy Follows Death of Prominent Haitian Judge
Aug 2, 2013
On July 13, Judge Jean Serge Joseph passed away under suspicious circumstances, sparking controversy within Haiti that his death was related to his involvement in a high-profile corruption investigation against President Michel Martelly’s wife Sophia and their son Olivier.
Landmark Ruling Against Canadian Mining Abuses in Guatemala
Jul 25, 2013
On July 22, Ontario Superior Court Justice Carole Brown ruled in a landmark decision that lawsuits against the Canadian mining company Hudbay Minerals regarding shootings, murder, and rapes at its former mine in El Estor, Guatemala can proceed to trial in Canada.
Looking to the Sky to Solve the Caribbean’s Energy Woes
Jul 19, 2013
Every year millions of tourists flock to the Caribbean to enjoy the region’s year round sunshine. Despite being blessed with beautiful weather, the region is only now taking concrete steps to turn the sun into more than just a tourist attraction and make solar power an integral part of their development plans.
“Operation Lionfish” Highlights the Caribbean’s Comparative Advantage
Jul 10, 2013
The theory of comparative advantage is regarded as a fundamental cornerstone of how economies operate. Given the shifts in the global economy, the Caribbean has unwillingly found a new comparative advantage. On July 3, it was announced that Interpol seized nearly 30 tons of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana.
Revisiting the Cincinnati Enquirer vs. Chiquita
Jul 4, 2013
Given the ongoing debate surrounding Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning—and whether or not they committed a crime or acted in the public good—it is fitting to revisit a case which on a much smaller scale. The story of the Cincinnati Enquirer vs. Chiquita Banana showed how the “illegitimate” gathering of evidence was considered a more serious crime than that of engaging in widespread murder, bribery, arms trafficking, and knowingly poisoning the environment of communities throughout Latin America.
Guyana: Colonialism With Chinese Characteristics?
Jun 26, 2013
While the relationship between China and Guyana was initially established in order to foster mutual cooperation and development, the past decade has witnessed a surge of Chinese interest in Guyana’s natural resources, leading many Guyanese citizens to question the value of this supposedly equal and beneficial partnership.
Norway’s Foreign Policy in the Americas: A Better Way Forward?
Jun 19, 2013
A cursory look at the history of most countries' foreign policy towards Latin America and the Caribbean can often be categorized as being under the influence of colonialism, the Cold War, or neoliberal fundamentalism—depending on the era. To date, there has been very little genuine engagement between the region and outside nations. One nation which appears to be countering this trend is Norway.
Belize’s Conservation Balancing Act
Jun 12, 2013
In comparison to many of its neighbours in Central America and the Caribbean, Belize has pursued a very effective and widespread policy of conservation in order to capitalize on the growing segment of eco-tourism. However, given the stresses of economic development, Belize is facing a difficult balancing act when it comes to determining the limits of environmental and cultural conservation.
Assata Shakur and Cuba – U.S. Relations
May 16, 2013
It has been 40 years since Assata Shakur was convicted of gunning down New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster in 1973 and sentenced to 26-33 years in prison. However, in November 1979, she escaped from prison and eventually received political asylum in Cuba in 1984. On May 2, it was announced that Shakur became number one on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list. What does this mean for U.S.-Cuban relations?
New Report Gives UN Failing Grade on Cholera
May 10, 2013
On May 3, the Boston based organization Physicians for Haiti released a report card titled Protecting Peacekeepers and their Public which evaluates the status of the United Nation’s efforts to eradicate cholera in Haiti. Two years later, the UN has failed to implement their own cholera eradication reccomendations, speaking volumes about their concern for the saftety of the Haitian people.
The Looming Canada-CARICOM Free Trade Agreement
May 2, 2013
On April 23, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, visited Canada to deliver her pitch to make the Canada-CARICOM free trade agreement a reality. However, it remains to be seen how such a deal will benefit the Caribbean—outside of a select group involved in resource extraction and financial services.
Maduro’s Venezuela Remains an Inconvenient Example of Democracy
Apr 18, 2013
If the goal is for democracy to run its course in Venezuela, it is incredibly important that anti-democratic means do not become the tools of choice in order to bring about a change in government more favorable to U.S. interests. As the events in Venezuela unfold, it is becoming increasingly clear that this is wishful thinking.
Time for Caribbean Leadership to Speak Up on Haiti
Apr 11, 2013
In the most trying of times, it is often said that it becomes much easier to tell real friends from the fake. Since the announcement by United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki Moon, claiming that the U.N. has legal immunity when it comes to their role in introducing cholera to the country, the Haitian people are currently learning that outside of Cuba, even supportive words are hard to come by within the rest of the Caribbean Community.
From Bad to Worse: Canada’s Development Agenda in the Americas
Mar 28, 2013
In the most recent Canadian budget, it was announced that the Canadian International Development Agency was being “modernized.” Going forward, CIDA will no longer function as a separate governmental agency, but instead it will be folded into the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
Confronting Crisis: The Need for Political Innovation in the Caribbean
Mar 21, 2013
Across the region there is a familiar narrative whereby economies are in a tailspin, austerity reigns, traditional sources of trade and aid are no longer in effect, opportunities are harder to come by, and the aspiration of many youth is to simply get their hands on a visa to go abroad. There is an alarming need for political and institutional innovation in the Caribbean.
Remembering Hugo Chavez: An Eternal Friend of the Caribbean
Mar 6, 2013
President Hugo Chavez—perhaps more than any other Latin American politician—sought to build bridges with the Caribbean, to unite two regions which have so much in common. While many other articles have turned to focus on the economic consequences his death might potentially bring to the Caribbean, a remembrance of all that he had done both for and with the region seems more fitting.
Can Guatemala’s Long Struggle for Justice Provide Lessons for Haiti?
Feb 21, 2013
While it is too early to tell whether or not Jean Claude Duvalier will appear in court today to face charges for embezzlement and corruption, it is important, whatever the outcome, to highlight that Guatemala’s arduous 14-year struggle to prosecute former military dictator Efrain Rios Montt for crimes against humanity provides an important template for Haiti moving forward.
A Small Step Toward Ending Duvalier’s Impunity in Haiti
Feb 14, 2013
For decades Jean Claude Duvalier brutally ruled over Haiti—leading to the murder, dissapearance, and torture of tens of thousands. However, the recent decision by an appeals court on February 7 demanding Duvalier appear in court or face arrest is a small but extremely important step toward gaining justice for his many victims.
The Drug Trade and the Increasing Militarization of the Caribbean
Feb 7, 2013
Given the current controversy surrounding the extent of the U.S. drone program and targeted killings, it is important to revisit that in the summer of 2012, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency announced that unmanned drones would begin patrolling Caribbean airspace. This is only one aspect of how the War on Drugs in the Caribbean is increasingly looking like the War on Terror.
Jamaica Betting Big on Panama Canal Expansion
Jan 30, 2013
The expansion of the Panama Canal is to be completed in 2015. In preparation for this, Jamaica has embarked upon an ambitious program of infrastructure development to position it as a “global transshipment and logistics hub”—joining the likes of Singapore, Dubai, and Rotterdam.
CIDA Continues its History of Controvery in Haiti
Jan 24, 2013
On January 8, 2013, Canada’s Minister of International Cooperation—and head of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)—blindsided Haiti, the United States, and the United Nations by announcing through the media that he would be freezing any further distributions of development aid.
2013: A Brighter Year Ahead for the Caribbean?
Jan 10, 2013
In 2012, the Caribbean was the site of many positive developments—but overall the region as a whole is desperately trying to keep its head above water. While last year marked 50 years since the end of formal British colonialism in both Jamaica and Trinidad, it also highlighted that new and perhaps more powerful structures of control have arisen in the region such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, and the international drug trade.
Selling Citizenship in the Caribbean
Dec 21, 2012
Due to the decline of the traditional sugar and banana exporting industries, many cash strapped Caribbean islands have been resorting to an unusual and controversial method to raise revenue—selling citizenship. There is an ongoing debate about the transparency of such programs, and whether the economic benefits outweigh the potential costs.
U.N.'s Cholera Initiative: Underfunded and Unapolagetic
Dec 17, 2012
On December 11, the United Nations announced a long overdue initiative to end the cholera epidemic which has devastated Haiti for more than two years—taking over 7,750 lives and infecting 600,000 more. While the announcement by the Secretary General Ban Ki Moon is a welcome and much needed step, the ten-year plan is not without controversy.
The Caribbean’s Agricultural Crisis
Nov 22, 2012
“Make no mistake about it. Our region is in the throes of the greatest crisis since independence. The specter of evolving into failed societies is no longer a subject of imagination. How our societies crawl out of this vicious vortex of persistent low growth, crippling debt, huge fiscal deficits, and high unemployment is the single most important question facing us at this time.”
Despite Global Opposition, United States Votes to Continue Cuban Embargo
Nov 15, 2012
In a near unanimous vote at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, the vast majority of the world voted to put an end the U.S. economic embargo against Cuba. The last time the United States had normal relations with Cuba, the Andy Griffith Show was the most popular show on TV, African Americans couldn’t vote, McDonalds only had 228 locations, and Barack Obama would not be born for another year.
Obama's Election and the Caribbean: What Does it Mean?
Nov 8, 2012
Early Wednesday morning the Caribbean breathed a sigh of relief with the re-election of Barack Obama. This relief was not due to any significant or meaningful policy implementations by the Obama adminstration during his first term but out of fear that Romney's election would have brought a more aggressive and antagonistic stance toward the region.
Climate Change and the Caribbean
Nov 3, 2012
The two dozen island nations of the Caribbean, and the 40 million people who live there, are in a state of increased vulnerability to climate change. Higher temperatures, rises in sea level, and increased hurricane intensity threaten lives, property, and livelihoods throughout the region.
A Bitter Anniversary: Remembering the Invasion of Grenada
Oct 22, 2012
The second half of October is always a time of reflection amongst progressive forces in Caribbean, but especially so in Grenada. This is because October 19 marked the 29th anniversary of the death of Maurice Bishop, the Prime Minister of the People’s Revolutionary Government of Grenada. In addition, October 25 will mark the 29th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Grenada.
MINUSTAH’s Upcoming Renewal: A Setback for Democracy in Haiti
Oct 11, 2012
Despite widespread opposition from the Haitian people and many of their political representatives in parliament, the renewal for the mandate of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) is set to occur on October 15. However, MINUSTAH's renewal should not be regarded as a step towards increased security and stability in Haiti, but rather an investment in the suppression of pro-democracy forces.
Welcome Back? Martelly Returns to Widespread Protests
Oct 4, 2012
Given the waves of anti-government protests which have recently engulfed Haiti, one would have thought that Haitian President Michel Martelly would have found refuge from controversy while visiting the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Yet this was not the case.
An Unexpected Ally: St. Lucia to Maintain Recognition of Taiwan
Sep 27, 2012
  Earlier this month, the government of St. Lucia announced that it will be maintaining ties with Taiwan. This came as a surprise to many, but Prime Minister Kenny Anthony argued that it was best for St. Lucia to stay the course with Taiwan and not behave “like a Jack-in-the-Box, jumping from one country to another every few years.”
Buying Time: Belize Narrowly Avoids Default
Sep 22, 2012
Belize, like much of the Caribbean, is trapped between high debt and a foreign economic environment hostile to the implementation of progressive economic reforms. On September 21, Belize won a 60 day reprieve after a partial debt payment of $11.7 million, which avoided their descent into a full blown default.
Signs Point Toward Controversial Renewal of MINUSTAH’s Mandate in Haiti
Sep 13, 2012
What MINUSTAH’s near certain renewal on October 15 essentially means is another year of impunity for MINUSTAH, whose mandate entrusts them with the protection of the Haitian people on paper, but routinely and unapologetically violates their human rights in practice. Better options are available but are not considered. Why?
Police Killings Spark Crisis in Guyana
Aug 15, 2012
This year in Guyana, Emancipation Day—the day which commemorates the abolition of slavery—was not a cause of celebration but was marked instead by widespread sadness and anger. On August 1, funerals were held for three men who were killed by Guyanese security forces during a protest over government plans to increase electricity rates in the bauxite mining town of Linden.
Is the War on Drugs in the Caribbean Going Up in Smoke?
Jul 26, 2012
Despite the war on drugs being lost long ago, the debate on a progressive drug policy in the Caribbean is showing positive signs of revival due to increased campaigning on behalf of an unlikely partnership of community organizations, farmers, and academics.
Unsustainable Solutions to Haiti’s Housing Crisis
Jul 20, 2012
On January 11, 2012, Beverly J. Oda, Canada’s former Minister of International Cooperation, announced that the Government of Canada would be committing $19.9 million to the resettlement of 5,000 families, who were left homeless and were living in the internally displaced camp in Champs de Mars. She also remarked that “If all we do is clear the Champ de Mars, we will have failed.”
Everything That Glitters Isn’t Green in Guyana
Jul 13, 2012
On July 5, Guyana’s Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment announced that it would suspend new river mining claims due to growing concern about widespread environmental damage. The announcement comes at a time when gold prices are soaring and many Canadian and Brazilian multinationals are scrambling to capitalize on Guyana’s vast mineral wealth.
Under Tents: Taking Action for Haiti’s Homeless
Jul 5, 2012
On July 2, Haitian grassroots organizations and their international allies launched a housing rights campaign called ‘Under Tents’ in response to the failure the Haitian government to “address Haiti’s epidemic of homelessness.”
Behind the Numbers: Haiti’s Homeless Population Drops?
Jun 28, 2012
It’s one thing to be proud of an accomplishment, such as reducing the amount of homelessness by constructing homes—but it is irresponsible and criminal to attack, forcefully evict, and destroy thousands of shelters consisting of battered tents and tarps, then brag internationally about seeing a reduction in the levels of visible homelessness. Yet this is exactly what is happening right now in Haiti.
Undeserved Confidence: A Broken System of Aid in Haiti – Part 2
Jun 21, 2012
Talking about the structural ineffectiveness of charities and NGO’s is difficult because criticism of charity creates the problematic misconception that an individual is against easing the suffering of others, or the good intention to make the world a better place. This is not true. The problem is the wider framework within which charity occurs.
Undeserved Confidence: A Broken System of Aid in Haiti – Part 1
Jun 18, 2012
With billions of dollars promised to “build Haiti back better,” why hasn’t it happened? The sad reality is that while the earthquake may have destroyed a significant part of Haiti, it did not destroy the predatory and exploitative imperialist system which has historically impoverished Haiti—it unfortunately intensified it.
Typical: The Economist Fails Caribbean History
Jun 7, 2012
This August will mark the 50th anniversary of independence of Jamaica and Trinidad, but will also signal the 50th anniversary of the demise of the West Indian Federation. To mark the occasion, on June 2nd, 2012, The Economist published an unforgiving appraisal of the failure of the West Indian Federation and the region in general, but as to be expected, it lacks any serious context as to why the Caribbean finds itself in its current situation.
Going for Broke: The Corporate Players Behind the Demise of the Caribbean Banana Trade (Part 2)
May 31, 2012
Price wars between supermarkets seeking to gain the lowest possible cost of bananas has led to a race to the bottom which has no winners other than the large retailers and multinational corporations. The fundamental need for competitiveness overrides any moral incentive on the parts of the corporations.
Going for Broke: The Corporate Players Behind the Demise of the Caribbean Banana Trade (Part 1)
May 24, 2012
The banana industry has long been famous for the power and influence multinational corporations yield upon governments. Despite bananas being grown in nearly all tropical regions, 70% of the global banana market is controlled by only three corporations—Del Monte, Dole, and Chiquita. This two-part article looks at the corporate influences behind the demise of the Caribbean banana trade.
A Stellar Record of Failure: The IMF and Jamaica
May 11, 2012
As part of her election campaign, Jamaican prime minister Portia Simpson Miller announced her intention of breaking ties with the British monarchy and becoming an independent republic. While this is no doubt a long overdue and symbolic act, breaking ties with the real neocolonial power in Jamaica—the International Monetary Fund—should be a much higher priority.
Haiti’s Hotel Boom: Progress or Trickledown Economics?
May 4, 2012
The recent news out of Haiti is that Port au Prince is currently undergoing a building boom—but it’s not the much needed homes for the estimated half million internally displaced people, it’s due to upscale hotels being built to house foreign investors and aid workers.
A Colonial WikiLeaks? The Migrated Archives and the Caribbean Pt.3
Apr 25, 2012
April 18th marked the public release of the first batch of the secret colonial documents from the British government known as the "migrated archives."Interestingly, UCLA's Professor Robert Hill’s work with the migrated archives is not the first time that he has come across secret or forgotten documents related to his work in the Caribbean.
A Colonial WikiLeaks? The Migrated Archives and the Caribbean Pt.2
Apr 18, 2012
In part two, Robert Hill, Professor of Afro-American and Caribbean History at UCLA, who has been deeply involved in the "migrated archives" since their discovery, shares his insights into the release of the archives and what it entails for the Caribbean history.
A Colonial WikiLeaks? The Migrated Archives and the Caribbean Pt.1
Apr 12, 2012
Nearly 50 years after decolonization, the case brought forth by four Kenyan pensioners against the British government has the real potential to be regarded as a “Colonial WikiLeaks,” quite possibly leading to the rewriting of the established narratives of decolonization and independence not only in Africa, but also throughout the Caribbean and all former Commonwealth colonies.
The People vs. The Pirates: Controversy Abounds in Haitian Reconstruction Investigations
Apr 5, 2012
With the release of two separate investigations this week, it is becoming increasingly clear why the reconstruction has failed the Haitian people on such a massive scale—it is lucrative business opportunity first, with the humanitarian element coming in at a distant second.
Guyana: Remembering Dr. Cheddi Jagan
Mar 29, 2012
March 6 marked the 15th anniversary of the death of Dr. Cheddi Jagan, the former President of Guyana and the hemisphere’s first democratically elected Marxist leader. While that distinction is often mistakenly associated with the election of Chilean President Salvador Allende, Guyana was not only the site of this historic election, but Jagan (not Jacobo Arbenz) was also the first leader in the Americas to fall victim to Cold War military intervention.
If at First You Don’t Succeed… The United States Renews its Pursuit of Aristide
Mar 22, 2012
While a miscarriage of justice over the trial of Jean Claude Duvalier is currently occurring in Haiti, the United States is busy resuscitating its worn and failed case against another former Haitian President, Jean Bertrand Aristide.
Canadian Banks and Economic Control in the Caribbean
Mar 15, 2012
Canadian banks operating in the Caribbean are nothing new; the Royal Bank of Canada proudly claims that it had branches in the Caribbean before it had opened any in Western Canada. This pattern of foreign economic domination in the Caribbean has resulted in dangerously high levels of dependency, undermining local attempts to bring forth greater self-sufficiency and control over major industries.
Hypocritical Justice: Police Killings Rattle Jamaica
Mar 8, 2012
The killing of 21 people—including a 13-year-old girl and an elderly man—by the Jamaican police in the past six days has highlighted the systemic problem the country is having with controlling the inappropriate use of deadly force.
Will He Sing or Stay Silent: Sentencing of Christopher 'Dudus' Coke Delayed
Mar 1, 2012
The prosecutors in the trial of Christopher "Dudus" Coke have asked for a 23-year sentence, to stop the Jamaican criminal kingpin from resuming his criminal activities upon his release from prison. What this saga has shown is that in many ways Coke was indeed more powerful than Jamaican prime minister Bruce Golding.
ALBA Expands its Allies in the Caribbean (Part 2 of 2)
Feb 23, 2012
Two years after Haiti's devastating earthquake, the failed reconstruction has shown that a great deal of the international community’s optimism, which emerged after the earthquake, was simply talk. Outside of a determined group of Latin American and Caribbean countries, the majority of international efforts in Haiti are shameful.
ALBA Expands its Allies in the Caribbean (Part 1 of 2)
Feb 15, 2012
The weekend of February 4th and 5th saw the Bolivarian Alternative of the Americas (ALBA) convene their 11th summit in Caracas, Venezuela. The summit contained the standard denunciations of American imperialism and the need for deeper economic integration – but surprisingly ended with St. Lucia and Suriname expressing their desire for full membership in the organization, with Haiti also joining ranks as a permanent observer.
A Dangerous Precedent: Why Haiti Must Try Jean Claude Duvalier for Human Rights Abuses
Feb 8, 2012
The recent announcement that former Haitian dictator Jean Claude Duvalier will stand trial for corruption charges related to his embezzling of millions of dollars, but not for his role in the murder, disappearance and torture of thousands during his presidency has sparked outrage throughout Haiti and from human rights advocates across the world.
Canada: A Late but Eager Partner in Policing the Caribbean
Feb 1, 2012
Canadian Forces have participated in numerous counter-narcotics missions in the Caribbean basin as part of the wider U.S. Joint Interagency Task Force-South. The missions, in combination with the opening of a Canadian military base in Jamaica, raise serious questions about the wider militarization of Canadian relations with the Caribbean.
Discussing Domestic Violence in the Caribbean
Jan 25, 2012
The fracturing of families and communities by economic restructuring has led to a dramatic increase in domestic violence throughout the Caribbean. What makes matters worse is that domestic violence is often trivialized and left out of context, therefore severely hindering efforts to implement meaningful and lasting reforms.
The Caribbean in 2012: Looking Forward
Jan 19, 2012
Two thousand and twelve holds both uncertainty and cautious optimism for the Caribbean. The recent election of new governments in Jamaica and St. Lucia, the controversial re-election of an incumbent in Guyana, and the selection of Michel Martelly out of a flawed election in Haiti has sent mixed signals about the overall direction of the region.