Chinese Teach Obama Caribbean Lesson

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By Arthur Piccolo

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. April 13, 2012: Whoopee President Obama is going back to Latin America to attend another regional conference the Sixth Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia on April 14th …..

……. that will bring nothing new from Obama for the Caribbean and Latin America except more of the usual talk about security and drugs. Especially when it comes to the Caribbean aspect of Latin America its always about drugs and security. Never about investing, entrepreneurship and a true partnership for a bright future.

And it never includes Cuba at all.

Obama would be better off flying around and seeing all the good things the Chinese are doing to develop a more impressive record for themselves in Latin America and the Caribbean than Obama is. Or as the UN’s executive secretary for the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, or as the UN calls the region LAC, said, “ China is not just buying goods and services from LAC, it is also investing in the region.”

Where does that leave President Obama? No where man!

As my favorite source, the New York Times reported this week, the Bahamas has a new $35 Million stadium just opened – a gift from the Chinese. Dominica has received a grammar school and a renovated hospital. And they got a sports stadium too thanks to the Chinese. Antigua and Barbuda receives a power plant and yes they got a sports stadium too. The Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago got a new official residence, compliments of the Chinese.

The list of Chinese projects in and for the Caribbean just keeps growing. It is very likely to become huge in the coming years.

The Chinese are also giving much needed loans to state banks in the Caribbean, and building roads, restoring ports, investing in resorts. You could say all at the expense of the United States government, which is making no such investments. If you want U.S. money in the Caribbean you need to promise to hire more police or buy more equipment to go after drug runners. That is where the U.S. interest in the Caribbean begins and ends – with President Obama just like his predecessors.

Are we going to see a bold new statement about the Caribbean from Obama let alone major new initiatives in Cartagena this weekend? Only if you are very high on drugs and completely out of your mind. What the rest of us will hear about are drugs and security in the Caribbean. And yes Cuba bashing.

So what is the Obama Administration response to the growing Chinese influence in the Caribbean and throughout Latin America. They don’t care because the Chinese aren’t building military bases there. Well they are doing something far more significant. Proving how dismal the U.S. policies toward the Caribbean are while the Chinese reputation in the region grows ever better day by day.

As for Cuba, which will become the Caribbean’s largest economy in the future while Obama panders to the right wing Cuban exile whackos in South Florida, China is becoming a major presence in Cuba and when the various sanctions finally end as they will China will be far better positioned that the U.S. to reap benefits from a reborn Cuba. Because they are there in every growing numbers right now and building business relationships for the future.

Down in Jamaica, Chinese interests recently bought three large formerly government-owned sugar estates and leased other cane fields making China a major player in Jamaica too. The Times reports that various savvy Caribbean analysts think that the Chinese are emerging as a major political force in the Caribbean even more so in contrast to the lackadaisical U.S. attitude there.

So what is Obama’s agenda at the Summit this weekend?. To lecture the leaders of Latin America/Caribbean that Cuba must be even more isolated. It is impossible for Obama to deliver a more destructive message that runs counter to the views of the region, and is further one more example of Obama in effect telling the region the U.S. is in control and you’d better do what we want. The U.S. “plantation” mentality toward the region is alive and well with Obama in The White House.

Obama is going to Latin America to lecture while China has arrived bearing gifts. Is it difficult to decide which country is having a positive impact enhancing its image in the region?

Of course Obama traveling to Cartagena on Air Force One to bash Cuba is just another campaign stop for Obama just like everything he does every day. It’s all campaign all the time. His trip to Cartagena is all about the anti-Castro Cubans in Florida and Obama winning that state in November.

The best that can come out of Cartagena this weekend is for all the Caribbean and Latin American leaders to be resolute in telling Obama in no uncertain terms “It’s time to wake up to the region and stop lecturing us. Do something positive. As China is!”

For as a new Gallup poll out this week reports, President Barack Obama’s reputation is at an all time low in the region.

What more needs be said except Amen!

About The Writer: Arthur Piccolo is a professional writer and commentator and often writes about Latin America for New Americas.