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Few persons around the Caribbean would dispute the fact that president Obama will need much luck to and acute political skills to lead America out of the second Great Depression which that country is now experiencing.

One of the many questions Caribbean leaders will ask Obama to make, is one which has the potential to affect the future of the whole Caribbean; the question of reversing America’s current policy towards Cuba. They also hope he has the wisdom to understand that change is more likely to come to Cuba if there is frequent engagement between the people of these two neighbours.

But let’s be realistic people, despite Obama’s many talents his no miracle worker.

Dr. Rupert Lewis, a professor in the Department of Government of the University of the West Indies mention recently that President Obama will not alter US policy, he will not play the “black role” and most disappointingly, they will be no major advantage to the Caribbean with Obama in the White House.

can we as Caribbean people, excuse Obama if he decides that problems affecting Cuba and the Caribbean will have to be left on the coal pot to simmer rather than placing it in the pressure cooker to boil along with major international crisis that the new Obama administration has been forced to confront.

Do you think? Will President Obama change the US policy towards Cuba? Have your say in the comments below.

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11 Comments »

Comment by Suki
2009-01-28 19:12:34

I think there will probably be a slight shift in Cuban relations but that is really not the point. In the end of the day, Obama is the president of the United States, not the world. There is nothing to be disappointed about if he does not go out of his way to make policies favorable to the Caribbean and Cuba – it is up to the Caribbean to make favorable policies for itself. I think the expectations for Obama are too high, I heard a report today on NPR that Black designers in the United States were upset because Michelle Obama did not pick one of them to do any of her inauguration gowns. Why? She is not obligated to wear clothing from a black designer, she wants to wear clothing from the best designers irrespective of nationality or race. On the one hand we ask for equality and on the other hand we ask for favors – which is it? How can we ever expect to rise above the shackles of racial identification through the election of Barack Obama when we expect him to act in a way that prefers “his” race?

Comment by Joel Halfwassen Subscribed to comments via email
2009-01-28 21:41:15

That is an argument that will probably be heard over and over with Obama. Actually not just with Obama, but against most younger black politicians. The way I see it there are 2 tiers of politicians who happen to have African ancestry. The first is the ‘old guard’ the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons of the political ring. These folks are part of a group who shed their blood, tears, and sweat during the civil rights movements in order to gain some foothold on the idea of equality for a black person in America. They were able to parley their bravery and strength into being leaders of US politics. Their biggest success was in the uplifting of Black American and the education of the rest of us.

The second group is a generation who lived without much of the oppression. They went to integrated schools, played integrated sports, they are college educated at non traditionally black universities, and do not believe that black is a reason for giving favors. They bring the pendulum back a bit from their grandparents who paved the civil rights road. They acknowledge the terrible past, but look to the future as Americans…who happen to have black skin.

I am interested to see how this plays out. The biggest issue I see between these two groups is the older generation not willing to let go of the reins to this younger generation.

Joel

Comment by Helga
2009-02-06 21:14:25

Right on to you too!

 
 
Comment by Helga
2009-02-06 21:10:25

You are exactly right!

 
 
Comment by Angie Hunt Subscribed to comments via email
2009-01-28 21:55:44

(Dr. Rupert Lewis, a professor in the Department of Government of the University of the West Indies mention recently that President Obama will not alter US policy, he will not play the “black role” and most disappointingly, they will be no major advantage to the Caribbean with Obama in the White House.)

This is a disappointing statement considering Barack Obama has only been President for 9 days! Dr. Rupert might as well just go on and call Obama an ‘Uncle Tom.’ And I’m disappointed that you seem to agree: (But let’s be realistic people, despite Obama’s many talents his no miracle worker.)

Why don’t you join this beautifully hopeful revolution at http://www.barakobama.com (skip the donation if you must!) or go straight to http://www.whitehouse.gov and ASK him. Team Obama have invited our questions and given us a forum where they actually get answered.

Oh, and BTW Michelle Obama’s Inauguration outfit worn at the swearing-in ceremony was made by a young, unknown, Cuban-American designer……give them a break, already. Even American’s are prepared to hold judgment for at least 100 days!

 
Comment by pete
2009-01-29 07:46:56

Yes, I agree there is just too much talk on expectations. Lets just give the guy a chance to settle in, already! However, it is understandable why expectations may be high in the Caribbean. Its not necessairly just a racial thing. When it was in the US’ strong intererest 30 years ago, there were lots of cooperation and aid to Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa and some parts of Asia. We have seen with Bush’s policy, a dim view of the world: all about military might and fighting terrorism. This is not to say that the US population itself did not play a philantropic role in the world.

What is clear is that in the recent past, there has been a bias from the US against building goodwill in the world (or at least it went about it in an ineffective manner). In the meantime, countries like Venezuela, Cuba, Taiwan, China, South Korea and Japan have sought to broaden their political influence in the region. We recognize that handouts are a thing of the past (nor should it be encouraged) but it’s clear that the US needs to reach out more to nations in the world (particularly neighbors!), even for its own security. This could be in the form of improved diplomatic relations, but also better, more effective trade treaties, cooperation in fight against drugs, immigration policies, disaster mitigation and social programs.

I do not expect a dramatic move towards Cuba, but it is clear that the economic embargo has not worked. In the meantime the US has lost friends and influence in the region and the world undoubtedly. It’s in everyone’s best interest to work more closely together in a tangible way, and not just political rhetoric. It would be interesting to see what happens with the expected meeting between the President and the Caribbean leaders this year.

 
Comment by Iggy Pop
2009-01-29 11:42:12

The people in US Government supporting Cuban embargo come from the rich families who lost their money after the revolution. And the embargo is their payback. It’s cruel and inhumane. Neither makes it sense (did it ever ❓ ). UN condemned the embargo.
Cuba has no oil. Otherwise US would have made friends with Cuba long ago.
And since US has no interest Russia is taking advantage of the situation and increasing its presence in the region. I’m not saying it’s good or it’s bad. But a few years down the road things will look different from what we expect. All we can hope for is a positive change.

Comment by Helga
2009-02-06 21:18:04

You don’t know what your talking about!!!!

 
 
Comment by claire
2009-02-02 18:02:14

I think we need to wait and see. Remember Obama is just a man like any ther politician he will do what is politically expedient for himself and his party to remain in power for two terms. It was our stupidity if we think it could be anything else. this is politics, not salvation. Only yourself and Jesus loves unselfishly. Obama is elected to be the President of the USA, not of the caribbean region. Time for the caribbean region to come together and form their own UCR.UNited Caribbean Region, and formulate policies for the region that benefit the region,then our president can negotiate with the president of the USA as equals.

 
Comment by Helga
2009-02-06 21:20:02

Give him a break please. All of you are judging from past experience and…..it is not a black issue nor I white issue. Give it up!!!!!

Obama cannot take “the black role” because that would be discrimination on his part and that would be one of the worst things a President could do. That would be anti-American. But don’t think for a second, if he thinks that to change that, he will do the right thing.

Also, if that is the issue you are referring to, it is not Obama, it is Castro’s brother that will not concede to this issue.

If this is not the issue you are referring to, I apologize but, please let me know exactly what you mean. This post is not clear enough!

Comment by Helga
2009-02-06 21:28:03

Whoops…got some typos in my comments because I’m pressed for time. Please don’t criticize me…Thanks!

 
 
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