Global Insider: Ideology No Obstacle to Greater Cuba-Caribbean Economic Ties
By The Editors, on 03 Sep 2013, Global Insider
Last month, Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Marcelino Medina Gonzalez held
talks in Havana with Bahamas Foreign Minister Frederick Mitchell. In an
email interview, Gerardo González Núñez, professor of economic and
administrative sciences at the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico,
explained Cuba’s economic relations with other Caribbean nations.
WPR: What are Cuba’s economic priorities in the Caribbean in terms of
countries and sectors?
Gerardo González Núñez: Economic relations between Cuba and the
Caribbean have not been very stable or large-scale. Trade between Cuba
and the Caribbean has been dominated by the exchange of petroleum
products and manufactures in the area of electronics, metals and
chemicals. Countries that have been the main players in this trade have
been Trinidad and Tobago and the Dominican Republic. Technical
cooperation in the area of human resource development has been more
meaningful, with emphasis on the fields of health and sports. Students
from several islands in the Caribbean have graduated from school in
medicine and other health professions in Cuba, and Cuba has provided a
remarkable level of assistance to Haiti in the medical field. These are
the fields that will shape Cuba’s priorities in the future.
WPR: How does Cuba’s need for geopolitical allies affect its negotiating
stance in the region?
Núñez: The fact that Cuba is in the geopolitical sphere of influence of
the U.S., the hemispheric power with which Cuba has shared more than 50
years of confrontation, has been one of the factors that has influenced
Cuban foreign policy. Cuba has managed its policy according to its
security interests, which it understands as deterrent actions and not
domination of other states. This circumstance makes the countries of the
region very sensitive to the consequences of the U.S.-Cuba dispute, not
only because they are located in the immediate geographic context in
which tension occurs between the two countries, but also because of
their dependence on the United States.
WPR: What areas provide the most promising opportunities for closer
ties, and what are some of the challenges?
Núñez: The development of Cuba-Caribbean relations in the areas of trade
and economic and technical cooperation points to a considerable degree
of complementarity between Cuba and its neighbors in the region, and has
shown that differences in ideology and political orientation do not
represent obstacles to cooperation. The history of relations between
Cuba and the Caribbean suggests that the best opportunities for future
cooperation are in the areas of tourism, transportation, natural
disaster mitigation and environmental protection. In the purely trade
and investment fields, the possibility of all parties’ developing closer
and more profitable ties faces the great challenge of the condition and
compatibility of the Cuban economy with the economic processes within
the other countries of the region.
Source: “WPR Article | Global Insider: Ideology No Obstacle to Greater
Cuba-Caribbean Economic Ties” –