Caribbean Political Economy

ALBA Advances Towards ‘Alternative Economic Model’, Rachael Boothroyd

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From 6 February 2012

The presidents discussed a series of themes relating to ALBA’s role within the regional economy and various foreign policy issues. The body also approved several declarations relating to global political concerns, including pronouncements on Syria and the current diplomatic altercation between the UK and Argentina with relation to the Falkland Islands….

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Agreements and Declarations at XI ALBA Summit

Latin America: No Longer for Sale, Tamara Pearson

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Webmaster’s note: the inaugural summit of the recently concluded Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) was attended by 13 CARICOM leaders, several of whom spoke out strongly in support of the new organisation, which aims to consolidate the unity and independence of the entire region. Tamara Pearson, who covered the summit for,,   captures the feeilng and flavour of the historic meeting.

“Haha, Ortega doesn’t know what he’s talking about, neither does Evo, they don’t know anything about crime, there are reports out there that know more,” said a journalist from Bloomberg to his colleague. The journalist was sitting next to me in the press tent set up outside the CELAC plenary sessions in the Patio de Honor of the Bolivarian Militia University of Venezuela…

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Final Declaration of Havana Approved

Declaration adopted by the Cuba-CARICOM Summit

CARICOM’S stinging rebuke to the United States Rickey Singh

US Committing blunder after blunder Raffique Shah

Political Realism and National Transformation In Honduras, Annie Bird

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An agreement brokered by the presidents of,   Colombia and Venezuela has paved the way for ousted President Manuel Zelaya to return to Honduras and for that country to be reincorporated into the OAS. Two articles analyse the agreement and the current political situation.

Zelaya has sought to return to Honduras ever since the military coup that expelled him, but was prevented by criminal charges filed in Honduras’ corrupt and internationally condemned ‘justice’ system. Undoubtedly, he is interested in returning for the June 28, 2011 launch of the constitutional convention process by the National Popular Resistance Front (FNRP)…

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Speaking Truth to Power: Ricardo Seitenfus, the OAS and Haiti, Kevin Edmonds

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Kevin Edmonds

Kevin Edmonds

On December 25, the Organization of American States removed their special representative, Ricardo Seitenfus, from Haiti. The reason was very simple. He told the truth. In an interview four days earlier with the Swiss newspaper Le Temps, Seitenfus bluntly expressed the popular discontent which the Haitian people have been saying since the arrival of MINUSTAH (United Nations Stabilization Force in Haiti) on June 1, 2004 — simply put, that their presence ” solves nothing, it makes things worse. [They] want to turn Haiti into a capitalist country, an export platform for U.S. market, it’s absurd.”…

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No country would accept what the Haitians are forced to accept, Ricardo Seitenfus

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The dismissed OAS representative in Haiti, Brazilian diplomat Ricardo Seitenfus, has made further revelations about the shameful role of international donors and NGOs in Haiti, including discussion of a proposal to remove President Rene Preval from office before the expiry of his term.

Text of Seitenfus interview

Haiti: The Dismissal Of Ricardo Seitenfus and The Fight Against Cholera, Fidel Castro

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On December 25, 2010, the Organization of American States announced the dismissal of its Special Representative in Haiti, the distinguished Brazilian diplomat, Ricardo Seitenfus. This dismissal followed the publication of an interview with Seitenfus by the Swiss Newspaper, Le Temps. In this commentary, the Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, quotes extensively from the Seitenfus interview; and gives new information on the Cuban medical programme in Haiti and the fight against cholera.

The OAS Secretary General, decided, at the beginning of 2009, to appoint as his personal representative in Haiti a Brazilian intellectual, Ricardo Seitenfus who at that time was working in his country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Seitenfus was enjoying well-deserved prestige in diplomatic and government circles in the Haitian capital because of the seriousness and openness with which he was dealing with the problems. In 1993 he had written a book called “Haiti: Sovereignty of the Dictators”. He visited Haiti for the first time that year…

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Haiti in the hands of the NGOs Christophe Wargny, Le Monde Diplomatique

U.S.- Brokered Mediation Has Failed – It’s Time for Latin America to Take Charge

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by Mark Weisbrot

Mark Weisbrot is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, in Washington, D.C. This column was published by The Guardian Unlimited on July 30, 2009. If anyone wants to reprint it, please include a link to the original.

The mediation effort that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arranged to try to resolve the Honduran crisis, which began when a military coup removed Honduran President Mel Zelaya more than four weeks ago, has failed. It is now time – some would say overdue – for the Latin American governments to play their proper role. They should take the necessary steps to implement the unanimous mandate from the Organization of American States: “the immediate and unconditional return” of President Zelaya to his elected office.

This can be done with or without the help of the Obama administration. It is important to note that the last two political crises in the region were resolved without any significant input from Washington. The first was in March of last year, when Colombia bombed and invaded Ecuadorian territory, in an operation targeting Colombian FARC guerillas. Latin America was united in its response, condemning the violation of Ecuador’s sovereignty. The crisis was resolved at a Rio Group meeting on March 7, where President Uribe of Colombia apologized and pledged not to violate the sovereignty of any country again.

In the summer of last year, right-wing Bolivians opposed to the government of President Evo Morales engaged in a series of violent actions that raised the specter of a separatist civil war. The heads of state of UNASUR – the Union of South American Nations — met in Santiago and unanimously declared their support for the Morales government. This unified regional response, and the ensuing investigations of right-wing violence sponsored by UNASUR, helped put an end to the insurrectionary hopes of the Bolivian right.

It was too much to expect that a mediation process set up by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would resolve the Honduran crisis. The U.S. government has too many interests that conflict with what the rest of the region wants and needs.

First, there is the U.S. military base in Honduras, the only such base in Central America. The constitutional reform process that President Zelaya hoped to set in motion could easily lead to voters’ rejection of foreign troops on their soil. However much our government may prefer democracy as a political system, when there is a choice between democracy and a military base, Washington’s track record is not a good one.

Brazil’s foreign minister Celso Amorim complained to Clinton that the mediation process should be within the framework of the OAS resolution, and therefore should not impose conditions on Zelaya’s return – especially, he said, a coalition government with the people who overthrew the government. This was one of the conditions proposed by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, whom Clinton recruited to mediate.

Amorim also noted that any negotiated solution that was seen as rewarding the coup perpetrators would increase the threat of military coups in other countries. These concerns reflect Latin America’s strong and unambiguous interest in a complete reversal of the coup. They will have to live with the consequences of failure.

In Washington, by contrast, we have a muddle of conflicting interests: powerful lobbyists such as Lanny Davis and Bennett Ratcliff, who are close to Clinton and are leading the coup government’s strategy; the Republican right, including Members of Congress who openly support the coup; and “New Cold Warriors” of both parties in the Congress, State Department, and White House who see Zelaya as a threat because of his co-operation with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and other left governments.

No wonder Washington’s response to the coup has sent so many mixed signals. The first White House statement did not even criticize the coup, and the State Department still won’t officially call it a coup. And Clinton has repeatedly refused to say that “restoring the democratic order” in Honduras means bringing Zelaya back – much less unconditionally. It took three weeks for the administration to threaten a foreign aid cutoff, and Washington is alone in keeping its ambassador in place.

Latin America gave Washington a chance to use its influence with the Honduran elite to restore democracy there. It didn’t work. Now it is Latin America’s turn to take the lead. Hopefully, Washington will follow.

OAS Readmission of Cuba: With or Without Conditions? Norman Girvan


“Imposing Conditions, O.A.S. Lifts Its Suspension of Cuba” heads the New York Times story; whilst the,   InterPress Service (IPS) says ” OAS Opens Doors to Cuba without conditions’. Which is correct?

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Fidel Castro–Unseen Guest at Vth Summit, Norman Girvan



Cuba, and in particular its former President, Fidel Castro, is already a player at the upcoming Vth Summit of the Americas. That much is evident from information coming out of Havana, Moscow, Santiago de Chile and La Paz in the past 48 hours.

On Friday 3 April, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega met with Fidel Castro and handed him a copy of the proposed Declaration of Port of Spain, which will be sent for adoption by the leaders of the 34 countries attending the Summit…

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Version Español: Fidel Castro – El huésped invisible en la V Cumbre de las Américas

See also Chair of Congressional Black Caucus says majority of U.S. Citizens against Cuban blockade Granma International

US Lawmakers meet with Fidel Castro

Obama in the Americas Summit Atilio Boron (Spanish)