The resumption of diplomatic relations between the USA and Cuba, which was long overdue, is a most welcome development. For one thing it marks the termination of the isolation of Cuba in the Americas. Since hitherto all the other countries had diplomatic relations with Cuba the recent development also ended the isolation of the USA on this issue.
The origin of Cuba’s isolation was the decision of the OAS in 1962 to exclude Cuba from the Inter-American system. It was 10 years later in 1972 that the first breach in the ramparts of isolation occurred. During that year Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago announced simultaneously the establishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba. Guyana played the leading role in this outcome. The process was initiated by a policy decision by Guyana to seek to establish diplomatic relations with Cuba. As a result of the instructions of Prime Minister Burnham, Guyana’s High Commissioner to Canada began talks with the Cuba Ambassador there. The Foreign Ministers of the two countries held and concluded negotiations during the Non-Aligned Conference in Georgetown in 1972. Thereafter Guyana secured the agreement of Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago on joint action. The path-breaking nature of the step taken by the four English-speaking Caribbean countries was widely acknowledged in diplomatic circles and elsewhere. Addressing a mass rally in Cienfuegos, Cuba’s Fidel Castro said the following: “It was precisely at a top-level meeting among the leaders of these countries held in Trinidad in October of 1972, that the Prime Minister of the Republic of Guyana proposed a joint establishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba.
“In this way, our English-speaking Caribbean friends took the lead over the Spanish-speaking continental neighbours in the movement to break the isolation and the blockade against Cuba.”
I congratulate President Obama for his courage and hope that he can secure the support of the US Congress to get rid of the unjust economic embargo. But will those in Congress who have so consistently opposed him act in a manner which would place them and their country on the right side of history and ensure that the USA is in the same company with the overwhelming majority of the international community?
Rashleigh E Jackson