Caribbean Problems and Prospects

November 6, 1957

Report Outline
Political Cntrasts in The Caribben
Age-Old Problems of Caribbean Region
Programs and Prospects for Improvement
Special Focus

Political Cntrasts in The Caribben

Interest of United States in Area's Stability

Sharply contrasting political developments in the Caribbean area have made that region on the southeastern doorstep of the United States the object of more than usual attention in this country. Months of unrest in Haiti marked by frequent changes of government interspersed with periods of army control, and repeated armed challenges to the authority of the Batista regime in Cuba, have conformed to Latin American political tradition. Against such events stands the completion of plans to link the British West Indian colonies in a largely self-governing federation.

Whether political events in the Caribbean region follow an old pattern or break new ground, the United States is never a disinterested observer. Strategic and economic considerations compel a close interest in what goes on in the long chain of islands extending clockwise nearly 3,000 miles from Cuba and Jamaica around to Aruba off the continent of South America. The proximity of this “American Mediterranean” to continental United States and to the Panama Canal makes important the maintenance of friendly and stable governments in the independent countries, colonies, and other political units situated in the area.

To restore order and enforce stability, the United States at one time or another in the past has felt obliged to occupy Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. Aid in forestalling enemy control of the Caribbean Sea in World War II, and in guarding against attacks on the Panama Canal, was given by the celebrated destroyers-for-bases deal with Great Britain in 1940; this country thereby acquired sites for bases in Jamaica, Antigua, St. Lucia, and Trinidad. Although the other wartime bases have been put in standby status, the Trinidad installation is kept in operating condition and important American naval and air facilities are maintained also in Cuba and Puerto Rico. Military assistance has been furnished to Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Feb. 18, 2005  Haiti's Dilemma
Feb. 01, 1985  Caribbean Basin Revisited
Jan. 13, 1984  Caribbean Basin Policy
Jan. 11, 1980  Caribbean Security
Jul. 08, 1977  Puerto Rican Status Debate
Oct. 24, 1969  West Indies: Power Vacuum
Apr. 13, 1966  Dominican Dilemma
Nov. 21, 1962  Security in the Caribbean
Jul. 22, 1959  Invasion and Intervention in the Caribbean Area
Nov. 06, 1957  Caribbean Problems and Prospects
Jun. 14, 1943  Problems of the Caribbean Area
Jun. 10, 1940  Foreign Possessions in the Caribbean Area
Latin American Conflicts
Regional Political Affairs: Latin America and the Caribbean
War and Conflict