Security in the Caribbean Basin: The Challenge of Regional Cooperation

By Joseph S. Tulchin; Ralph H. Espach | Go to book overview

5
Cooperation in the Caribbean:
The Cultural Dimension
Rafael Hernández

When we speak of cultural exchange in the Caribbean, we tend to think mostly of folkloric festivals, primitive art, African percussion, and carnival rhythms. In addressing the problems of Antillean society, however—its foreign relations, sustainable economic development, and efforts to reintegrate itself into an increasingly globalized world without sacrificing its own identity—the cultural dimension turns out to play a central role.

The treatment of issues such as the environment, natural disasters, migration, or the trafficking of controlled substances as problems of national and international security highlights the significance that these issues hold for the survival of the countries of the Caribbean. Nonetheless, the predominant focal points of the agendas of the main subregional organizations—the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)—regard them rather as problems that go beyond the scope of security not only by their nature, but also because of the instruments that are proposed for dealing with them.

This chapter attempts to view these issues of Caribbean international relations from the standpoint of cultural cooperation. This dimension pertains to culture in the strict sense of the word, but also includes aspects of society such as science, technology, education, health care, and sports. The assertion of the chapter is that the cultural dimension of the Caribbean Basin forms the backbone of current cooperative initiatives, owing to its profound connection to the nature of the problems addressed and the role that it plays in promoting understanding and mutual confidence in the face of common threats. 1

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