The Caribbean and World Politics: Cross Currents and Cleavages

The Caribbean and World Politics: Cross Currents and Cleavages

The Caribbean and World Politics: Cross Currents and Cleavages

The Caribbean and World Politics: Cross Currents and Cleavages

Excerpt

The October 25, 1983, invasion of Grenada by U.S. forces dramatically underscored the Caribbean's emergence as a meeting ground of international rivalries and conflicts. It also closed a decisive period in the region's history—a quarter of a century opened by the formation of the Federation of the West Indies in 1958 and the Cuban Revolution in 1959 and marked by the rapid transition from colonialism to independent nationhood in most of the English-speaking Caribbean territories. Like few other events in the region's recent history, those "two weeks that shook the Caribbean," from the arrest of Maurice Bishop to the landing of the Marines on Grand Anse Beach, brought to light the tensions and currents of change that are such prominent features of the Antilles in the mid-eighties.

The Cuban Revolution, by successfully challenging the notion that Caribbean states were condemned to be client states of the United States, had a profound impact on regional consciousness and became a crucial reference point for many Caribbean leaders and activists, particularly of the younger generation. The tragic ending of the Grenadian revolution, on the other hand, was a powerful reminder of the very real limits and constraints Caribbean states face as they attempt to chart their own independent course.

What changes have taken place in the Caribbean's international relations during this crucial period in the region's history? Have the rapid politico-constitutional changes been accompanied by concomitant shifts in the region's international economic relations? What is the balance of the efforts at regional economic and political cooperation? Why have U.S. and French territories lagged behind the decolonization wave that swept . . .

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