Of US presidents and honouring signed accords

shadiasimpson, shadiasimpson@nationnews.com

Added 30 October 2012


A week from today, the electorate of the United States of America will vote for the 45th president of the world’s sole superpower that remains a vital trade and economic partner of the Latin America and Caribbean region. As of yesterday, the latest assessment of projections by normally reliable public opinion polls pointed to possibly the closest outcome in the ongoing fluctuating fortunes of President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney, with the Democrats’ incumbent still with a winning edge, if razor-thin, for a second four-year term. As it would be across the global community, where peoples of all nationalities, political and socio-economic systems seem fed up with military warfare, the horrific consequences of battles with terrorist and narco-trafficking networks and a lingering debilitating economic recession, so too would there be a depressing mood among citizens of the Caribbean and Latin America. Hence, a recurring question often raised is whether next Tuesday’s presidential election could make a qualitative difference in the lives not only of citizens of America, but also for us in the Latin America and Caribbean region. Cynicism runs deep against such a possibility, even as the most disillusioned wisely seek to keep hope alive. Within recent years more wars have been started by a Republican in the White House, with succeeding Democrats having to face up to the challenges to ending them. It is also true that successive United States presidents – Democrats and Republicans – have failed to bring to a realistic conclusion America’s current half century-old unique trade, economic and financial embargo against the small Caribbean nation that is Cuba. For the citizens of the Greater Caribbean, whose Heads of Government (other than a non-invited Cuba) had participated in the historic summit in Barbados with former United States president Bill Clinton back in May 1997, the record of promised policies and projects would reveal quite a disappointing picture of implementation deficits. The central theme of that United States/Caribbean summit was Partnership For Prosperity And Security In The Caribbean. It came to be officially known as the Bridgetown Accord. Ironically, some 14 years later, Caribbean and Latin American Heads of State and Government met in Colombia for the Sixth Summit Of The Americas with the central theme being Connecting The Americas – Partners For Prosperity. One does not have to be in favour of either a Democrat or Republican in the White House to question the absence of the elusive promised “prosperity”, as voiced in eloquent rhetoric, either for signing of the Bridgetown Accord in 1997, or for this year’s Sixth Summit Of The Americas at Cartagena in Colombia. Whoever emerges as the choice of the American electorate as the next president of the United States, the hope is for some consistency in fulfilment of the promises as articulated and signed between 1997 (Barbados) and 2012 (Colombia) with a whole lot of other “declarations” and “accords” in between.


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