OUR CARIBBEAN: More US bashing for Caricom
I GUESS that the United States of America, as the sole “superpower” nation of the world – even though currently agonising over the limits of its economic and military might in dealing with Russia over the Ukraine – can indulge in sweeping negative claims against small states in our Caribbean region.
Hence, last Saturday, as Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders were advancing arrangements for this week’s Inter-Sessional Meeting in St Vincent and the Grenadines, scheduled to conclude yesterday, there came a report out of Washington with a scorching verbal swipe at poor governance “leadership” in this region.
The referenced US State Department report by the Caribbean Media Corporation accused government leaders of the Eastern Caribbean in particular for having “largely failed” to address “official corruption” pertaining to narco-trafficking primarily from Colombia and Venezuela.
Coincidentally, Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, in addressing at the weekend a delegates’ conference of the governing St Lucia Labour Party of Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony, was stressing why the Caribbean bloc of states in general would remain supportive and appreciative of Venezuela’s initiated PetroCaribe project.
Currently contending with violent political confrontations at home – which, it claims, enjoy clandestine backing from the United States – the Caracas administration of President Nicolas Maduro has reassured the beneficiary countries of PetroCaribe to maintain, with some variations, this subsidised oil facility while coping with spreading domestic social and economic challenges.
Skerritt, for his part, thought it necessary to remind the conference in St Lucia that both the World Bank and International Monetary Fund had come around to recognising the benefits of this partnership project that is enabling vulnerable economies in this region to cope with current socio-economic challenges.
Be that as it may, there is the harsh reality of Washington-based administrations dismal record of failure to curb America’s own huge domestic consumption of illegal drugs; even as it seeks to combat the enormous narcotics trade and continuing shipments of small arms to the Caribbean region.
The United States, therefore, needs to remind itself of glaring failures to effectively respond to its own unflattering reputation as the world’s biggest consumer of illegal drugs – mix of cocaine, marijuana, heroin and opium – that have resulted in enormous social, economic, social and political consequences for the Greater Caribbean and wider Latin American region.
The US – which under administrations of both Republicans and Democrats – had for far too long treated Caribbean and Latin American states as part of its historical “backyard” with variations in rhetoric – should take a deep breath and humbly reflect on the roles of successive Washington administrations’ complicities to combat narcotics trafficking in this hemisphere.
Following the report on latest chastisement by the State Dapartment of claimed corruption by CARICOM governments in relation to the illicit drug trade, I chose to have a reread of chapters of what remains a most definitive book on political and financial corruption involving security and military personnel, as well as key figures in America’s drug enforcement and intelligence agencies (DEA and CIA).
The book, Cocaine Politics – Drugs, Armies And The CIA In Central America, by Peter Dale Scott and Jonathan Marshall, is worthwhile revisiting, or obtaining, by anyone with a keen interest in understanding the mind-blowing political, intelligence, security, military and diplomatic intrigues and human and economic consequences involving Washington administrations’ so-called “war on drugs and terrorism”.
First published back in 1991 by University of California Press, the book, which offers 64 pages of valuable notes and references, is well worth obtaining by anyone with more than a casual interest in the differing roles of the United States to better place in context Washington’s stated commitment to helping the Caribbean/Latin American region combat narco-trafficking and terrorism.
A central focus of the book is the authors’ concern of what they identified as “the explosion of cocaine trafficking” through Central America during the years of President Ronald Reagan and made possible by his administration’s “covert operations” to overthrow the Sandinistas government in Nicaragua amid spreading developments of what came to be known internationally as the “Iran-Contra” war.
Current Secretary of State John Kerry knows much about the involvement of the America’s connivance in drug trafficking, terrorism and destabilisation of governments in this hemisphere, having chaired the congressional subcommittee that submitted a revealing report sourced by the authors of Cocaine Politics.