As if Mike Pompeo hadn’t shown enough disrespect for the Caribbean during his turbid tenure as US Secretary of State, his final parting shot against Cuba was a bridge too far even for those Caribbean leaders who have dutifully adhered and supported Donald Trump’s policies in the hemisphere. While each country’s position on designation of Cuba as a State Sponsor of Terrorism is not discernible from the individual silence of each Caribbean leader, their collective response gives some hope for future Caribbean consensus on geopolitical issues impacting the region. The lack of collective CARICOM opposition to Trump’s policies throughout his chaotic and dangerous presidency allowed Pompeo’s divisive strategy, in particular on the Venezuela crisis, to succeed. Now, not surprisingly, CARICOM speaks with one voice in the final days of the Trump administration when it is clear there is no longer need for the faint-hearted to fear repercussions.
Pompeo’s designation of Cuba as a State Sponsor of Terrorism is a dastardly act of desperation on the part of the Trump administration. It’s a culmination of its dismal failure to dissuade Cuba from support of the Nicolás Maduro regime in Venezuela, despite the economic pressures imposed over the past four years against the Cuban government. While this designation will no doubt have a negative effect on Cuba’s economy and the well being of the Cuban people, as well as Cuban economic relations globally and with other Caribbean states, Cuba will not be cowered into submission to the will of the United States. Neither should CARICOM states adhere to the requirements of this unlawful designation. CARICOM states, acting collectively, must go beyond condemning this action of the Trump administration by standing in solidarity with Cuba and conducting business as usual without regard to this unjustified designation.