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Articles in Caribbean

Puerto Ricans Appear to Endorse Statehood in Referendum

By Nicholas Baldo | November 9, 2012 | 3 Comments

Lost in the extensive coverage of the 2012 U.S. Election is the recurrent and important issue of Puerto Rico’s relationship to the U.S. On Tuesday, the Puerto Rican electorate appeared to endorse statehood in a two-part non-binding referendum.

Revamping French Guiana for the World Cup and Olympics

By Chris Kremer | August 12, 2012 | 2 Comments

Although Brazil has received ample press attention in its scramble to prepare for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic games, its neighbor French Guiana has also started drawing up plans to host athletes competing in the two sporting events. The overseas region of France will expand its sport, tourism, and transportation infrastructure in order to attract elite athletes to train there for the games.

A New Panama Canal? Or Two?

By Nicholas Baldo | July 11, 2012 | 4 Comments

As traffic through the Panama Canal rises, Nicaragua and Costa Rica examine alternatives in a charged political atmosphere.

Debt Issues and Russian Investments in Guyana

By Martin W. Lewis | June 5, 2012 | 4 Comments

Stabroek News recently reported that Russia would write-off $50 million in debt to the government of Guyana. Debt write-offs for the impoverished South American country are nothing new. In 1999 alone, Guyana successfully negotiated $256 million in debt forgiveness.

The US Virgin Islands after the Shuttering of the Hovensa Refinery

By Martin W. Lewis | February 28, 2012 |

Until recently, Hovensa in the U.S. Virgin Islands was one of the world’s largest petroleum refineries, with a capacity of almost 500,000 barrels per day. As of this month, Hovensa is no longer refining oil, but is merely serving as a storage facility.

Maps of Caribbean Geopolitics

By Martin W. Lewis | March 26, 2011 | One Comment

Despite the press of news elsewhere, Geocurrents has focused for the past two weeks on the Caribbean, highlighting the region’s geopolitical complexity. As in the Pacific, the welter of small islands in the Caribbean has encouraged the development of distinctive political arrangements. These two largely maritime regions are the main holdouts of Western colonialism.

The Netherlands Is No Longer a Low Country: Conundrums of Geopolitical Classification

By Martin W. Lewis | March 25, 2011 |
highest point in the netherlands?

The modern Netherlands forms the heart of the so-called Low Countries, a historical region composed of the flat and watery delta formed by the Rhine, Meuse, Scheldt, and Ems rivers. As the name suggests, the Low Countries have no mountains. On WikiAnswers, the second-highest-rated response to the question, “What is the highest point in the

Caribbean Geopolitical Rivalry?

By Martin W. Lewis | March 23, 2011 | 2 Comments
alliances in the caribbean

As explained recently in Geocurrents, the anti-U.S. ALBA alliance led by Venezuela is not what it might appear to be at first glance, as several small Caribbean countries have joined it more for economic than geopolitical reasons. Still, it seems worthwhile to map the potential geopolitical division of the Caribbean entailed by the existence of

The Little-Noticed Dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles

By Martin W. Lewis | March 22, 2011 | 6 Comments
Netherlands Antilles Aruba Political Map

Like the unrest in Turks and Caicos, the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles has been little mentioned in the press. Indeed, an internet search under that name would lead one to believe it still exists, given the continuing stories on its sports teams, economy, maritime boundaries, and tourism prospects. Yet the Netherlands Antilles was officially

When Is an Island Not An Island? Caribbean Maritime Disputes

By Martin W. Lewis | March 21, 2011 | One Comment
caribbean maritime disputes map

Matters of basic geographical definition can be extremely important in international disputes and negotiations, especially when it comes to maritime claims. According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, any country can claim a 200-nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) around every island that it controls, usually splitting the differences with

Unnoticed Unrest in Turks and Caicos and the Canadian Connection

By Martin W. Lewis | March 19, 2011 | 4 Comments
turks and caicos political map

Massive unrest across much of the Middle East, coupled with the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster in Japan, have tended to crowd other important international stories out of the news, such as the on-going debacle in Ivory Coast. While the emphasis on Japan and the Arab world is understandable, other topics deserve attention as well

The Mystique of Mustique

By Martin W. Lewis | March 17, 2011 |

Mustique Island, in the country of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, rarely makes the news – unless one counts celebrity gossip sheets. In those sources, the island appears fairly frequently. On March 16, 2011, for example, it was reported that there was a good chance that the “royal couple,” Prince William and

St. Vincent’s Venezuelan Alliance and High-End Tourism

By Martin W. Lewis | March 15, 2011 |

Political alliances are not always what seem, given that member states can join for different reasons. Consider ALBA, the “Bolivarian Alliance for the People of Our America,” founded by Hugo Chavez and designed to counter the influence of the United States in the Western Hemisphere. The leaders of the core ALBA

Belize Vs. Guatemala

By Martin W. Lewis | January 8, 2010 |

A major controversy engulfed the small Central American country of Belize in early January 2010 after its foreign minister, Wilifred Erlington, described the border between his country and Guatemala as “artificial.” Enraged Belizean nationalists denounced Erlington as a “sell-out,” while opposition leaders demanded his resignation.

Ethnic Rioting in Suriname

By Martin W. Lewis | December 30, 2009 | 4 Comments

In late December 2009, anti-Brazilian rioting broke out in the town of Albina in northeastern Suriname after a Brazilian man allegedly stabbed and killed a local resident. The ethnic violence grew so intensive that the Brazilian Foreign Ministry was forced to send in two aircraft to airlift its citizens from

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