Obama strategy for the Caribbean
Prior to the presidential elections, the Obama-Biden website had outlined policy drafts on a range of issues including foreign policy.
BBC Caribbean provides a snapshot of the foreign policy on Latin American and the Caribbean.
The paper accused the Bush administration of having a policy which had been "negligent towards our friends, ineffective with our adversaries.....and incapable to advancing our interests in the region."
The policy paper outlined plans to "re-establish American leadership in the (Americas) hemisphere".
KEY POINTS IN THE POLICY PAPER
- Reinstate Special Envoy for the Americas: This had been dropped during the Bush administration, The policy proposes an envoy to bring "senior-level attention to hemispheric matters that might otherwise get buried in the normal diplomatic process". The envoy would have a direct line to the president.
- Strengthen the State Department and increase the size of the US Foreign Service by 25 per cent.
- Expand the Peace Corps.
- Employ American immigrants in public diplomacy: "people who came to America to seek a better life are our best ambassadors to their native nations."
"The case of Cuba" merits a detailed outline of proposed future policy.
"After nearly 50 years of failure, we must turn the page and begin a new chapter in US-Cuba policy."
- Empower the Cuban people: "to help the Cuban people become less dependent on the Castro regime".
- Enable Cuban Americans: "grant Cuban Americans unrestricted rights to visit family and send remittances to the island".
- Embargo: the policy talks of "holding back important incentives such as relaxation of the trade embargo and greater foreign aid so that we can encourage change in a post-Fidel government." The embargo carrot is expected to begin with the freeing of all political prionsers.
- Guantanamo: the paper says that America's "greatest tool in advancing democracy is our own example". It proposes to "hold the United States to the same standards that we demand of others" and talks of the closing of the detention facility at Guatanamo Bay.
- "Latin America and islands in the Caribbean have one of the highest murder rates in the world."
- Regional partnership on crime and security: the document proposes a regional security initiative.
- The Attorney General and Homeland Security Secretary will meet their Caribbean and Latin American counterparts in the first year of the Obama presidency "to produce a regional strategy to combat drug trafficking, domestic and transnational gang activity, and organised crime."
- A new "co-ordinated security pact with quantifable benchmarks, including drug seizures, kingpin apprehension, independent corruption investigations, and reduction in drug-related violent crimes."
- Strengthen the police force and judiciary in many Latin American and Caribbean countries. This includes American help to develop data-driven and technology-supported policing systems.
- Support American law enforcement and drug treatment programmes at home.
- doubling foreign assistance to $50 billion by 2012
- Fight corruption at home and in the hemisphere.
- Re-authorise the President's emergency plan for Aids relief and drive more funding for these programmes
- One-hundred per cent "debt cancellation for the world's heavily-indebted poor countries, including Bolivia, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Paraguay, and St Lucia."
- Amend the North American free trade agreement.
- Tap the power of remittances: "at more than $50 billion a year, remittances dwarf US foreign assistance. Obama will work to foster a new spirit of partnership and co-operation to maximise the impact of those remittances on social and economic development across the hemisphere