Above: Antigua PM Gaston Browne with Cuba President Raul Castro earlier this month
By the Caribbean Journal staff
It will be some time before the impact of the United States’ thawing with Cuba on the rest of the Caribbean becomes clear.
For now, the Caribbean’s leaders have officially welcomed the move, something for which CARICOM and the region’s leaders have been advocating for years.
Here is how some Caribbean leaders responded to the news:
“This represents courageous action by the Governments of the United States and Cuba that will ultimately serve the best interest of the people of both countries and establish the foundation for the next required logical step of a total and formal end of the United States’ unilateral trade embargo against Cuba. The normalization of the relationship between these two countries of the Americas is a victory for all the peoples of the Americas. It is also a vindication of the principled position of Jamaica, the Members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), as well as people across the globe who for decades have called for dialogue and mutual respect between the two countries, and for an end to the unilateral sanctions imposed against Cuba by the USA.”
— Jamaica Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller
“I recall with pride that only 9 days ago on the occasion of CARICOM-Cuba Day in Havana, as Chairman of CARICOM, I called on President Obama and the US Congress to end the senseless embargo of Cuba. It is a matter of great satisfaction to me that the steadfast support that CARICOM countries took – beginning in 1972 with Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados – to stop the isolation of Cuba has helped to produce this result. Both the United States and Cuba have a great deal to contribute to the well-being and development of our Hemisphere, and our peoples can now look forward to new energy and new resources being unleashed in a spirit of cooperation. President Obama deserves praise for his enlightened decision — Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne
“St. Kitts and Nevis, the Governments of the Caribbean, the Governments of the entire western hemisphere, and Governments all across the globe had long asserted that the half-century old policy of the United States toward Cuba advanced the interests of neither the United States nor those of the Cuban people. We look forward to witnessing the benefits that are sure to accrue to the Governments and peoples of both the United States and Cuba as a result of this historic decision.”
— St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas
“Today, the United States has answered the call of humanity. Today, the United States has finally heard what Caribbean leaders have always said, and what has been proven: their decades’ long policy of isolationism of Cuba has not worked. It is way past time to remove the embargo. It is the progressive, wise, and right thing to do. The modern day realities of globalization demand that this be done. Cuba too, understands that they need to move with the times.”
— Grenada Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell
“[The] announcement by President Obama and President Castro is a huge leap in a positive direction. Socially, economically, geographically, we are all joined in a common mission of a better and more secure life for our people. After almost half a century, two very close neighbours have started talking again and we can expect a great deal of benefit to redound to the people of both nations and indeed to the entire region.”
— Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar