Guyana, Caribbean told to brace for aggressive US foreign policy

Last Updated on Wednesday, 9 November 2016, 20:13 by Denis Chabrol

Guyana and the rest of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) are being warned that United States (US) foreign policy towards Cuba, Haiti and Venezuela could be rather aggressive.

Political Science Professor, David Hinds said that with the likelihood of President-elect Donald Trump selecting Newt Gingrich as the next Secretary of State (foreign minister), the US could push harder for “regime change in Venezuela” and for re-tightening of the embargo on Cuba.

“If Gingrich becomes Secretary of State, we may well see a more hawkish foreign policy than under Obama and I can see Newt Gingrich being even more hostile to the regime in Venezuela than Obama has been and Gingrich might not be too open in expanding relations with Cuba,” Hinds said.

The Political Scientist said Trump himself is mostly concerned about business and prefers increased trade with Cuba, but at the same time he has to take into consideration that more than half of Floridians voted for him because they want him to deal firmly with the more than 50-year old communist ruled island.

Against the background of the Republican establishment in Congress being at odds with Trump, the Political Scientist argued that the new American leader was unlikely to continue the dismantling of the trade and economic embargo that outgoing President Barack Obama had begun. “The Republican Congress can push back that. From every report from Trump, one gets the impression that as a businessman he would be open towards lifting the embargo or certainly doing much more trade between Cuba and the United States but he has to be cognizant of the fact that the Republicans in Congress are not too much enamoured by that policy,” he said.

Apart from seeking to influence changes in Cuba, Venezuela and Haiti, Hinds does not see the English-speaking Caribbean being high on Trump’s foreign policy agenda.  Hinds said the Caribbean has to be wary of Gingrich’s foreign policy  because he is someone who comes from pure ideological, conservative wing of the Republican Party.

In the face of an aggressive Republican-led government, Hinds does not think that the Caribbean is any longer equipped with the likes of leaders such as Forbes Burnham and Michael Manley to stand up to the US in institutions like the United Nations. “The English-speaking Caribbean has mellowed tremendously in terms of its aggressive foreign policy and in confronting the United States. I don’t see this crop of leaders in the Caribbean confronting the US at all.