Trinidad and Tobago has found itself in an unenviable, as well as untenable, position of having to deal with hundreds of mostly Venezuelan and Cuban nationals who have entered this country, legally and illegally, then announcing themselves as refugees or seeking political asylum.
This situation is unenviable because we are the only English-speaking Caribbean island-state that faces an influx of Spanish-speaking refugees, in addition to Jamaicans and Nigerians who have overstayed their Immigration-approved time, and some Chinese, Syrians and Lebanese. Except for the fairly-prosperous Dominican Republic that shares the large island of Hispaniola with poverty-stricken Haiti, where nationals of the latter invade the former on foot, whence they face rigid deportation procedures, T&T is a unique magnet for illegal immigrants. Continue reading Refugees aggravate T&T woes→
No one who has followed Caribbean history over the last century could miss Fidel’s important role in helping Caribbean people to access their condition. Fidel had his faults.
However, his achievements surpassed his shortcomings and that is the salient point.
Fidel was to the 20th century Caribbean what Toussaint was to the 18th and 19th centuries. CLR James noted: “Castro’s revolution is of the 20th century as much as Toussaint’s was of the 18th…West Indians became aware of themselves as a people in the Haitian Revolution.” Continue reading The Challenge of Ideology→
IN response to a request from one young reporter for me to comment on Fidel Castro after the legendary Cuban leader died last Friday, I blurted out: he was a colossus of the Caribbean who walked the world stage tall like a giant.
I don’t know if my one-sentence summary of the complex character that was Fidel was original, but I certainly think it was accurate. Never before in the history of the Caribbean had we seen a leader of his stature. And, like him or loathe him, the titans who straddled the world stage during his 50-year tenure at the helm of Cuba dared not ignore him, with many of them grudgingly respecting him. Continue reading Castro: colossus of the Caribbean→
The historic diplomatic reality that the Obama administration has decided to re-establish a US embassy presence in Havana, Cuba on 20th July, 2015, signals a new geopolitical policy of the United States toward Cuba, albeit “Charting a New Course on Cuba.”
Firstly, by this diplomatic policy decision the Obama administration is renouncing the geopolitical decision by then US President Dwight Eisenhower to severe diplomatic ties with Cuba on 3rd January, 1962. Continue reading New US-Cuba Rapprochement→
I confess I was surprised when, last Wednesday, announcements from Washington and Havana confirmed that the United States and Cuba had agreed to restore diplomatic relations and work towards the normalisation of other relations, especially trade and travel between the two countries.
RECENTLY, I had a lively debate with Ralph Maraj on Cuba and its successes on i95 FM Showdown programme. Mr Maraj insisted that nothing good could come out of Cuba because Cuba has failed as a socialist society and there is “no freedom in that country”. I tried to convince him that Cuba has emerged as a leader on the world stage in areas of health care and education and there is little crime to speak of in that country. He insisted that Cuba was worthy only of condemnation. Continue reading Ralph Maraj’s Myopia→
FIVE weeks ago, in my column titled “Diplomatic Blunders”, I wrote, “…The US has the right to decide what countries it has relations with, so excluding Cuba as a trade or investment partner is not the issue. What is criminal is for the US to use its might to deny other countries, as well as all corporations, their right to have relations with Cuba…”
I was referring to America’s unjust trade embargo against Cuba, but also to the People’s Partnership Government’s seemingly confused foreign policy positions. Trinidad and Tobago had abstained at a UNESCO general meeting at which Palestine was granted full membership, with an overwhelming majority of nations voting in favour of the motion. Continue reading Blunder after Blunder→
The U.S. has laws and regulations which prevent U.S. companies from doing business with Cuba unless they obtain a special licence from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. These laws extend to operations of U.S. companies in other countries as well. The United States Department of the Treasury refused to grant a licence to the Trinidad Hilton Hotel, which is managed by Hilton Worldwide, to host the CARICOM-Cuba summit which involved Cuban leader Raul Castro. This untenable affront to Trinidad and Tobago’s sovereignty reflects the continued tradition of U.S. imperialism in the Caribbean and our local leaders’ complicity in this abuse. Continue reading Hilton’s Ban on Castro: An Affront to Our Sovereignty→
CUBAN PRESIDENT Raul Castro yesterday slammed United States (US) President Barack Obama for failing to keep a commitment he made at the Fifth Summit of the Americas in Port-of-Spain in April 2009 to lift the 49-year-old embargo which the US placed on Cuba since 1962. Continue reading END ISOLATION OF CUBA→