Caribbean Region: Issues in U.S. Relations
CRS Report for Congress
Issues in U.S. Relations
Updated October 27, 2006
Mark P. Sullivan
Specialist in Latin American Affairs
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
Caribbean Region: Issues in U.S. Relations
With some 34 million people and 16 independent nations sharing an African
ethnic heritage, the Caribbean is a diverse region that includes some of the
hemisphere’s richest and poorest nations. The region consists of 13 island nations,
from the Bahamas in the north to Trinidad and Tobago in the south; Belize, which
is geographically located in Central America; and the two nations of Guyana and
Suriname, located on the north central coast of South America. With the exception
of Cuba and Haiti, regular elections in the region are the norm, and for the most part
have been free and fair. Nevertheless, while many Caribbean nations have long
democratic traditions, they are not immune to threats to their political stability,
including terrorism. Many nations in the region experienced economic decline in
2001-2002 due to downturns in the tourism and agriculture sectors. Most Caribbean
economies have rebounded since 2003, although the extensive damage resulting from
several storms in 2004 caused economic difficulties for several countries.
U.S. interests in the Caribbean are diverse, and include economic, political, and
security concerns. The Bush Administration describes the Caribbean as America’s
“third border,” with events in the region having a direct impact on the homeland
security of the United States. It maintains that Caribbean nations are “vital partners
on security, trade, health, the environment, education, regional democracy, and other
The U.S.-Caribbean relationship is characterized by extensive economic
linkages, cooperation on counter-narcotics efforts and security, and a sizeable U.S.
foreign assistance program. U.S. aid supports a variety of projects to strengthen
democracy, promote economic growth and development, alleviate poverty, and
combat the AIDS epidemic in the region. In the aftermath of several devastating
storms in 2004, Congress approved $100 million in emergency supplemental funding
(P.L. 108-324) to support humanitarian efforts and reconstruction in Haiti, Grenada,
and Jamaica. Despite close U.S. relations with most Caribbean nations, there has
been tension at times in the relationship. For example, relations with Caribbean
nations became strained in the aftermath of the departure of Haitian President Jean
Bertrand Aristide from power in February 2004. More recently, Caribbean nations
that depend on tourism are concerned about the potential negative economic effects
of a new U.S. requirement, as of January 8, 2007, for U.S. citizens traveling by air
to the Caribbean (as well as to Canada and Mexico) to hold a passport.
This report deals with broader issues in U.S. relations with the Caribbean,
including foreign assistance, anti-drug trafficking and anti-money laundering
cooperation, support to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the region, and security
concerns such as port security and border security efforts. It does not include an
extensive discussion of Haiti and Cuba. U.S. policy toward these Caribbean nations
is covered in the following products: CRS Report RL32294, Haiti: Developments
and U.S. Policy Since 1991 and Current Congressional Concerns, by Maureen Taft-th
Morales; and CRS Report RL32730, Cuba: Issues for the 109 Congress, by Mark
Most Recent Developments..........................................1
Conditions in the Region ...........................................2
Overview of U.S.-Caribbean Relations.................................4
U.S. Foreign Assistance.............................................7
Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering Issues..........................8
Movement Toward Free Trade ..................................12
Third Border Initiative and Security Issues.............................14
Caribbean Energy Security..........................................16
HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean.........................................17
Hurricanes and Tropical Storms .....................................20
U.S. Humanitarian and Reconstruction Assistance...................21
Legislative Initiatives in the 109th Congress............................23
Caribbean-American Heritage Month.........................23
Social Investment and Economic Development Fund.............23
Tsunami Detection and Warning.............................24
For Additional Reading............................................26
List of Figures
Figure 1. Caribbean Region........................................33
List of Tables
Table 1. Caribbean Countries: Basic Facts............................27
Table 2. Caribbean Leaders and Elections..............................28
Table 3. U.S. Imports from Caribbean Countries........................29
Table 4. U.S. Exports to Caribbean Countries..........................30
Table 5. U.S. Foreign Assistance to the Caribbean, FY2003-FY2007........31
Table 6. U.S. Foreign Assistance to the Caribbean FY2006 Estimates
and FY2007 Requests.........................................32
Issues in U.S. Relations
Most Recent Developments
On October 4, 2006, the President signed into law the FY2007 Department of
Homeland Security Appropriations Act (P.L. 109-295, H.R. 5441), which has a
provision (Section 546) extending the deadline requiring U.S. citizens traveling by
land or sea between the United States and the Caribbean (as well as Canada, Mexico,
and Central and South America) to have passports or other documents denoting
identity and citizenship. The deadline was extended from January 1, 2008, to June
1, 2009, or earlier if the Secretary of State and Secretary of Homeland Security
jointly certify certain criteria regarding the new document or passport card being
developed. A deadline of January 8, 2007, remains in place for U.S. citizens to have
passports for travel by air between the United States and the Caribbean (as well as
Canada and Mexico.)
On August 28, 2006, Guyana held national elections in which President Baharrat
Jagdeo was re-elected with almost 55% of the vote. Some observers had anticipated
political violence, but the elections were the most peaceful and orderly in recent
history, according to the Carter Center, which observed the elections.
On July 3, 2006, Haiti’s participation in the Caribbean Community
(CARICOM) was formally reinstated at the organizations’s summit in St. Kitts and
Nevis. Haiti’s participation had been suspended after the departure of President Jean
Bertrand Aristide from power in February 2004.
On June 12, 2006, the House approved H.Res. 792 (Meeks) by voice vote,
recognizing the 40th anniversary of Guyana’s independence and extending best
wishes to Guyana for peace and further development, progress, and prosperity.
On April 22, 2006, Guyana’s Agriculture minister, along with his two siblings
and a security guard, were shot and killed in an apparent robbery.
On April 12, 2006, U.S. and CARICOM trade officials meeting in Washington
began preliminary exploration of a potential free trade agreement. The officials also
agreed to revitalize a dormant U.S.-CARICOM Trade and Investment Council that
had originally established in the early 1990s.
On March 30, 2006, Portia Simpson Miller was sworn in as Jamaica’s first
female Prime Minister. She replaced outgoing Prime Minister P.J. Patterson as the
leader of the ruling People’s National Party who had governed since 1992.
On March 22, 2006, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with CARICOM
foreign ministers in Nassau, Bahamas. She maintained that the United States wants
to deepen its relations with the region and called for support for the new
democratically elected government in Haiti.
On February 14, 2006, the Senate approved H.Con.Res. 71 (Lee), by unanimous
consent, expressing the sense of Congress that there should be established a
Caribbean-American Heritage Month. (The House had approved the resolution on
June 27, 2005.) Subsequently, on June 5, 2006, President Bush proclaimed June as
Caribbean-American Heritage Month.
Conditions in the Region
The Caribbean, encompassing 16 independent nations, is a diverse region of
some 34 million people that includes some of the hemisphere’s richest and poorest
nations (see Table 1). The region consists of 13 island nations, from the Bahamas
in the north to Trinidad and Tobago in the south; Belize, which is geographically
located in Central America; and the two nations of Guyana and Suriname, located on
the north central coast of South America. Many countries in the region share a
common African ethnic and British colonial heritage, while Cuba and the Dominican
Republic were Spanish colonies, Haiti was French, and Suriname was Dutch. The
dates of independence of these countries range from Haiti in 1804 to St. Kitts and
Nevis in 1983. The largest nations in terms of land area are Guyana and Suriname,
while those with the largest populations are Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and
Haiti. The island nations of the Eastern Caribbean are among the smallest countries
in the world. Politically, all Caribbean nations, with the exception of communist
Cuba, have elected democratic governments. Most of the former British colonies
have parliamentary forms of government, with the exception of Guyana, the
Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Suriname, which are republics headed by presidents.
In terms of regional integration, 14 of the region’s independent nations belong
to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), with the exception of the Dominican
Republic (which has observer status) and Cuba. CARICOM was formed in 1973 to
spur regional economic integration. Some critics argue that it has been slow to
promote integration, compared to other regional economic groupings, but progress
has been made in moving toward a single economic market and in establishing a
Caribbean Court of Justice. In addition to CARICOM, six Eastern Caribbean nations
are members of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the
subregional organization designed to stimulate economic integration and foreign
policy harmonization. The six OECS nations also share a common currency, the
Eastern Caribbean dollar, with monetary policy managed by the Eastern Caribbean
Central Bank. The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), headquartered in Barbados,
promotes economic development and regional integration.
With the exception of Cuba and Haiti, regular elections have been the norm, and
for the most part have been free and fair. In 2005, Dominica and Suriname held
elections in May, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines held elections in December.
Haiti was expected to hold elections in 2005, but significant problems and political
instability resulted in those elections being postponed several times, until they were
ultimately held on February 7, 2006. Guyana was scheduled to have presidential
elections before the constitutional deadline of August 4, 2006, but the Guyana
Elections Commission decided in April to postpone the elections in order to provide
more time to improve the accuracy of the electoral register. Successful elections
ultimately were held on August 28, 2006, without the political violence that some
observers had anticipated. Looking ahead, parliamentary elections are due in St.
Lucia by December 2006, while elections in the Bahamas, Jamaica, and Trinidad and
Tobago are due in 2007. (See Table 2 for a listing of leaders and elections for head
Although many Caribbean nations have maintained long democratic traditions,
they are not immune from terrorist and other threats to their political stability. In
1993, stability on St. Kitts was threatened following violent protests after disputed
elections; order was restored with the assistance of security forces from neighboring
states. In 1990, the government of Trinidad and Tobago was endangered by a coup
attempt by a radical Muslim sect. Earlier in the 1980s, the government of Eugenia
Charles in Dominica was threatened by a bizarre coup plot involving foreign
mercenaries. And of course, Grenada, under the socialist-oriented government of
Maurice Bishop, experienced a break from the democratic norm after it assumed
power in a nearly bloodless coup in 1979 and installed a people’s revolutionary
government. After the violent overthrow and murder of Bishop in 1983, the United
States intervened to restore order and end the Cuban presence on the island.
Many Caribbean nations experienced an economic slump in 2001-2002 due to
downturns in the tourism and agriculture sectors, although most Caribbean
economies have rebounded since 2003. Countries that depend on tourism were hurt
by the aftermath of the September 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States and the
subsequent U.S. economic recession and sluggish recovery. The banana and sugar
sectors in the Eastern Caribbean were damaged by a tropical storm in 2002 and a
drought in 2003. Both sectors face uncertain futures in light of the European Union’s
plan to phase out preferred market access from former Caribbean colonies for
bananas by 2006 and for sugar by 2009. The Haitian economy experienced decline
beginning in 2001, with political instability exacerbating already difficult economic
conditions in the hemisphere’s poorest nation. The strongest performing economies
in recent years have been those of the Dominican Republic, fueled by the apparel
sector, and Trinidad and Tobago, with substantial energy resources. In 2003,
however, the Dominican economy experienced a decline in economic growth due to
the financial strains caused by the collapse of one of the largest domestic banks.
In 2004 and 2005, the region’s strongest economic performers averaging growth
rates over 5% for those two years, were Antigua and Barbuda, Cuba, the Dominican
Republic, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. Those countries
not faring well in 2004 because of devastating hurricanes and tropical storms
included Haiti, with a 3.5%% decline in gross domestic product (GDP), and
Grenada, with a GDP decline of 3%. For 2005, however, Grenada’s economy
rebounded with growth over 5%, while Haiti’s growth was 1.8%. In Guyana,
economic growth has been stagnant or minimal over the past several years. In 2005,
the economy declined 3% because of high oil prices and floods, which early in the
year severely affected agriculture and mining activities.1
Overall, concern that rising oil prices could cause an economic setback for some
countries has been alleviated to some extent by Venezuela’s new subsidized oil
program for Caribbean countries known as PetroCaribe. Nevertheless, some
observers have also been concerned about the region’s high level of public debt, with
several Caribbean nations having debt levels that exceed 100% of their GDP.2
Overview of U.S.-Caribbean Relations
U.S. interests in the Caribbean are diverse, and include economic, political, and
security concerns. During the Cold War, security concerns tended to eclipse other
policy interests. In the aftermath of the Cold War, other U.S. policy interests
emerged from the shadow of the East-West conflict in the Caribbean that focused on
concerns about the Soviet and Cuban threat. U.S. policy priorities shifted from one
emphasizing security concerns to a new focus on strengthened economic relations
through trade and investment. Today, in the aftermath of the September 2001
terrorist attacks in the United States, security concerns have re-emerged as a major
U.S. interest in the Caribbean. The Administration describes the Caribbean as
America’s “third border,” with events in the region having a direct impact on the
homeland security of the United States. It describes Caribbean nations as “vital
partners on security, trade, health, the environment, education, regional democracy,
and other hemispheric issues.”3
The United States has close relations with most Caribbean nations, with the
exception of Cuba under Fidel Castro. The U.S.-Caribbean relationship is
characterized by extensive economic linkages, cooperation on counter-narcotics
efforts and security, and a sizeable U.S. foreign assistance program supporting a
variety of projects to strengthen democracy, promote economic growth and
development, alleviate poverty, and combat the AIDS epidemic in the region. The
region has had preferential treatment of its exports to the U.S. market since the early
1980s, and U.S. efforts are now focused on helping the region prepare for
hemispheric free trade.
Despite close U.S. relations with most Caribbean nations, there has been tension
at times in the relationship. For example, relations between Caribbean Community
(CARICOM) nations and the United States became strained in the aftermath of the
departure of President Jean Bertrand Aristide from power in February 2004.
CARICOM nations called for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding
1 U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Economic
Survey of Latin American and the Caribbean, 2005-2006, July 2006.
2 “Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, Country Report,” Economist Intelligence Unit,
3 U.S. Department of State, Congressional Budget Justification, Foreign Operations,
FY2006, “Third Border Initiative,” p. 548.
Aristide’s departure, and Haiti’s participation in CARICOM was suspended. After
Haiti held elections in February 2006 leading to the inauguration of Rene Preval as
president, CARICOM subsequently reinstated Haiti’s participation in CARICOM at
their July 2006 summit.
Caribbean nations that depend on tourism such as Jamaica and the Bahamas are
concerned about the potential negative effects on tourism in the region because of a
new U.S. passport requirement, as of January 8, 2007, for U.S. citizens traveling by
air to the Caribbean, as well as to Canada and Mexico. (The deadline for the
Caribbean originally had been set for December 31, 2005, and applied to air and sea
travel.) The new requirement was mandated by the Intelligence Reform and
Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-458). The deadline for U.S. citizens
traveling by land and sea to the Caribbean, as well as to Canada and Mexico, had
been set for January 1, 2008. In September 2006, however, Congress approved
legislation (P.L. 109-295, Section 546) extending the deadline for requiring passports
(or a passport card currently under development) for land or sea travel to June 1,
2009, or earlier if the Secretary of State and Secretary of Homeland Security jointly
certify certain criteria regarding the new passport card being developed.
The Caribbean tourism industry fears that the impact of January 8, 2007, air
travel passport requirement will be catastrophic for Caribbean economies.
Americans do not presently need a passport to travel to several Caribbean islands.
For example, in 2005, some 50% of Americans traveling to Jamaica did not have a
passport.4 Caribbean governments also argue that a majority of tourism revenues are
derived from tourists arriving by air and maintain that the recent changes in U.S. law
providing for a different deadline for sea travel was done to appease cruise ship
A controversial issue in U.S. relations with the Caribbean has been a World
Trade Organization (WTO) complaint filed by Antigua and Barbuda challenging U.S.
restrictions on cross-border Internet gambling. Antigua, which has invested in
Internet gambling as a means of diversifying its economy, maintains that it has lost
millions of dollars because of the U.S. restrictions. In July 2006, the WTO
established a dispute resolution panel to determine whether the United States had
complied with a 2005 WTO ruling that backed Antigua’s claim that the U.S.
restrictions violate the United States’ market access commitments under the WTO’s
General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). Antigua maintains that the United
States has taken no action to comply with the previous ruling.6 In September 2006,
Congress approved legislation to crack down on unlawful Internet gambling (P.L.
4 “OECS, Country Report,” Economist Intelligence Unit, December 2005, p. 33.
5 Sean Lengell, “U.S. Rules May Hit Caribbean,” Washington Times, Oct. 18, 2006; “U.S.
Passport Move Will Devastate Caribbean Economy,” BBC Monitoring Latin America, Oct.
6 Esther Lam, “WTO Unveils Revamped Panel to Determine U.S. Compliance in Internet
Gambling Case, International Trade Reporter, Aug. 24, 2006; and Daniel Pruzin, “WTO
Issues Appellate Ruling on Gambling Over Internet,” International Trade Reporter, Apr.
the U.S. inaction in the WTO case and told U.S. officials that they consider it a
regional Caribbean issue with the United States as opposed to just a U.S. bilateral
issue with Antigua and Barbuda.7 (For more, see CRS Report RL32014, WTO
Dispute Settlement: Status of U.S. Compliance in Pending Cases, by Jeanne J.
Grimmett and CRS Report RS22428, Internet Gambling: Two Approaches in the
U.S. relations with Haiti were strained under the government of Jean Bertrand
Aristide because of concerns over corruption and human rights, but there has been
renewed cooperation with Haiti, first under the interim government that took office
in February 2004, and more recently under the newly elected government of
President Rene Preval inaugurated in May 2006. The Administration is hoping that
an elected government will support the development of functioning institutions and
infrastructure and a reduction in violence that will help realize such as goals as
improving the human rights situation, reducing poverty, and decreasing narcotics
trafficking. Migrant interdiction has been a key component of U.S. policy toward
Haiti. (For further on U.S. policy toward Haiti, see CRS Report RL32294, Haiti:
Developments and U.S. Policy Since 1991 and Current Congressional Concerns, and
CRS Report RL33156, Haiti: International Assistance Strategy for the Interim
Government and Congressional Concerns, both by Maureen Taft-Morales; and CRS
Report RS21349, U.S. Immigration Policy on Haitian Migrants, by Ruth Ellen
Since the early 1960s, U.S. policy toward Cuba has consisted largely of isolating
the island nation through economic sanctions, including a trade embargo. The Bush
Administration has essentially continued this policy, although it has further tightened
economic sanctions, especially on travel. Another component of U.S. policy consists
of support measures for the Cuban people, including private humanitarian donations,
U.S.-sponsored radio and television broadcasting to Cuba, and U.S. funding to
support democracy and human rights. U.S. immigration policy toward Cuban
migrants has been described as a “wet foot/dry foot policy,” with the U.S. Coast
Guard interdicting Cuban migrants at sea and returning them to Cuba, while those
Cubans who reach shore are generally allowed to apply for permanent resident status.
(For further information on policy toward Cuba, see CRS Report RL32730, Cuba:
Issues for the 109th Congress; CRS Report RL33622, Cuba After Fidel Castro: U.S.
Policy Implications and Approaches; CRS Report RL31139, Cuba: U.S. Restrictions
on Travel and Remittances; all three by Mark P. Sullivan; and CRS Report RS20468,
Cuban Migration Policy and Issues, by Ruth Ellen Wasem.)
7 “CARICOM Backs Antigua in On-Line Gambling Dispute with USA,” BBC Monitoring
Latin America, Oct. 15, 2006.
U.S. Foreign Assistance
The United States has provided considerable amounts of foreign assistance to
the Caribbean over the past 25 years. U.S. assistance to the region in the 1980s
amounted to about $3.2 billion, with most concentrated in Jamaica, the Dominican
Republic, and Haiti. An aid program for the Eastern Caribbean also provided
considerable assistance, especially in the aftermath of the 1983 U.S.-led military
intervention in Grenada. In the 1990s, U.S. assistance to Caribbean nations declined
to about $2 billion, or an annual average of $205 million. Haiti was the largest
recipient of assistance during this period, receiving about $1.1 billion in assistance
or 54% of the total. Jamaica was the second largest U.S. aid recipient in the 1990s,
receiving about $507 million, almost 25% of the total, while the Dominican Republic
received about $352 million, about 17% of the total. Eastern Caribbean nations
received about $178 million in assistance, almost 9% of the total. The bulk of U.S.
assistance was economic assistance, including Development Assistance, Economic
Support Funds, and P.L. 480 food aid. Military assistance to the region amounted to
less than $60 million during the 1990s.
Since FY2000, U.S. aid to the Caribbean region (including FY2006 aid
estimates) has amounted to almost $1.6 billion, because of increased HIV/AIDS
assistance to the region (especially to Guyana and Haiti), disaster and reconstruction
assistance in the aftermath of several hurricanes and tropical storms in 2004, and
increased support for the interim government in Haiti following the departure of
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from power. Haiti accounted for some 51% of
assistance to the Caribbean region during this period. As in the 1990s, the bulk of
assistance to the region consisted of economic assistance. With regard to hurricane
disaster assistance, Congress appropriated $100 million in October 2004 in
emergency assistance for Caribbean nations (P.L. 108-324), with $42 million for
Grenada, $38 million for Haiti, $18 million for Jamaica, and $2 million for other
countries affected by the storms.Overall assistance to the Caribbean amounted to
$393 million in FY2005 and an estimated $306 million in FY2006 (see Table 5).
For FY2007, the Administration has requested about $322 million in assistance
for the Caribbean, with about $198 million or almost 62% of the total for Haiti, $35
million for the Dominican Republic, $31 million for Guyana, and almost $17 million
for Jamaica. Assistance to the small nations of the Eastern Caribbean (Antigua and
Barbuda, Barbados Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St.
Vincent and the Grenadines) is provided through USAID’s Caribbean Regional
program, which also funds some region-wide projects; for FY2007, the
Administration requested $11.6 million for the program. The Eastern Caribbean
would also receive about $1.5 million in military assistance and $3.2 million to
support a Peace Corps presence. The request of $3 million for the “Third Border
Initiative” (TBI) would fund regional projects for the 14-nation Caribbean
Community (CARICOM) plus the Dominican Republic that focus on improving
travel and border security in the region, disaster preparedness, and greater business
competitiveness. A request of $4 million for Operation Enduring Friendship, a
military assistance program, would support efforts to increase maritime security in
the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Panama, the Bahamas, and Jamaica. (See Tables
Looking ahead to future years, several Caribbean nations are potential recipients
for Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) assistance, an initiative to target foreign
assistance to countries with strong records of performance in the areas of governance,
economic policy, and investment in people. Although Haiti and Guyana have been
candidate countries potentially eligible for MCA funds since FY2004 (because of low
per capita income levels), neither country has been approved to participate in the
program because they have not met MCA performance criteria. Guyana, however,
was designated an MCA threshold country for FY2005 and FY2006 and could be
approved in future years for MCA funding. In FY2006, the per capita income level
for MCA-eligibility increased to $3,255 or below, and as a result, three additional
Caribbean countries — the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Suriname — became
potentially eligible for MCA funding but ultimately were not approved for
participation. For FY2007, the same five Caribbean countries — Haiti, Guyana, the
Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Suriname — are listed by the Millennium
Challenge Corporation (MCC) as potential candidates for MCA funding. (For
additional information see CRS Report RL32427, Millennium Challenge Account,
by Curt Tarnoff.)
One obstacle in the provision of U.S. military assistance to the Caribbean has
been that several Caribbean nations that are parties to the International Criminal
Court (ICC) have not signed agreements to exempt Americans from ICC prosecution,
so-called “Article 98 agreements.” Pursuant to the American Servicemembers’
Protection Act (ASPA, P.L. 107-206, title II), U.S. military assistance is prohibited
to countries that are parties to the ICC and do not have Article 98 agreements. In
July 2003, the Administration announced the termination of military assistance to six
Caribbean nations: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, St. Vincent
and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago. Subsequently, Antigua and Barbuda
signed an Article 98 agreement in September 2003; Belize signed one in December
2003; and Dominica signed one in May 2004. This leaves Barbados, St. Vincent, and
Trinidad and Tobago as the three Caribbean countries forgoing U.S. military
assistance because of the ASPA sanction. Trinidad and Tobago, which played a
leading role in the establishment of the ICC, has strongly resisted signing an
agreement, as has Barbados. (For additional information see CRS Report RL33337,
Article 98 Agreements and Sanctions on U.S. Foreign Aid to Latin America, by Clare
Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering Issues
Because of their geographic location, many Caribbean nations are transit
countries for cocaine and heroin from South America destined for the U.S. and
European markets. In addition, two Caribbean nations — Jamaica and St. Vincent
and the Grenadines — are large producers and exporters of marijuana. Of the 16
countries in the Caribbean region, President Bush in September 2006 designated four
of them as major drug-producing or drug-transit countries pursuant to annual
legislative drug certification requirements: the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic,
Haiti, and Jamaica. The President urged the new government in Haiti to strengthen
law enforcement and the judiciary to bring drug trafficking and crime under control.8
All four designated Caribbean countries are major transit countries for illicit
drugs to the U.S. market, and Jamaica is the largest marijuana producer and exporter
in the Caribbean. The Bahamas cooperates extensively with the United States on
counternarcotics measures, including interdiction efforts through Operation Bahamas
and Turks and Caicos (OPBAT), a multinational interdiction effort, and efforts that
target Bahamian drug trafficking organizations. The Dominican Republic, a major
transit country for both cocaine and heroin, cooperates closely with the United States,
although the State Department’s March 2006 International Narcotics Control
Strategy Report notes that “corruption and weak governmental institutions remained
an impediment to controlling the flow of illegal narcotics” through the country.
Jamaican cooperation with U.S. law enforcement agencies on counternarcotics efforts
is described by the State Department report as excellent in most cases, although it
maintains that the government needs to further intensify its law enforcement efforts
and enhance international cooperation. In Haiti, anti-drug efforts have been
hampered over the years by weak institutions, poor economic conditions, and
political instability. Under the interim government, the country’s continued
economic and political crises resulted in little attention to counternarcotics efforts,
according to the State Department, but a new Director General of the Haitian
National Police reportedly has worked to combat drug-related crime and police
Many other Caribbean nations, while not designated major transit countries, are
still vulnerable to drug trafficking and associated crimes because of their geographic
location. In particular, the State Department’s March 2006 report maintains that such
crimes have the potential to threaten the stability of the small states of the Eastern
Caribbean, and to varying degrees, have damaged civil society in some of these
countries. Given the poor outlook for the banana industry in the Caribbean, some
observers believe that it will be difficult to contain marijuana production unless there
is adequate support to diversify these economies away from banana production. St.
Vincent and the Grenadines is the largest marijuana producer in the Eastern
Efforts to crack down on money laundering also constitute a major component
of U.S. anti-drug strategy, and became increasingly important as a counter-terrorist
strategy in the aftermath of the September 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States.
The State Department’s list of major money laundering countries (also categorized
as “jurisdictions of primary concern”) includes six Caribbean countries — Antigua
and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Belize, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and St. Kitts and
Nevis — and one British Caribbean dependency, the Cayman Islands. The
Department of State maintains that although Antigua and Barbuda has
comprehensive legislation to regulate its financial sector, the country remains
vulnerable to money laundering because the sector is loosely regulated and because
8 White House, Press Release, “Memorandum for the Secretary of State: Presidential
Determination on Major Drug Transit or Major Illicit Producing Countries for Fiscal Year
of its Internet gaming industry. The Bahamas has enacted strong anti-money
laundering laws that has made it difficult for drug traffickers to deposit large amounts
of cash; as a result, traffickers have begun storing large quantities of cash in safe
houses, purchasing real estate, vehicles, and jewelry, and processing money through
legitimate businesses and shell companies. In Belize, money laundering is believed
to occur primarily in the country’s growing offshore financial center. Money
laundering in both the Dominican Republic and Haiti stem from their roles as major
drug transhipment points. In the Dominican Republic, financial institutions engage
in transactions with money derived from illegal drug sales in the United States, with
courier and wire transfers the primary methods for moving the funds. St. Kitts and
Nevis, according to the State Department, is at major risk for corruption and money
laundering because of the high volume of narcotics being trafficked through the
country and because of the presence of known traffickers on the islands.
The Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF), an
inter-governmental body with the objective of combating money laundering and
terrorist financing, has published a list of non-cooperative countries and territories
in the fight against money laundering since 2000. The FATF evaluative process has
been a major factor in Caribbean countries improving their anti-money laundering
regimes. Four Caribbean nations and one dependent territory were on the first FATF
non-cooperative list issued in 2000: the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, Dominica, St.
Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Grenada was added to the list
in September 2001. Subsequent actions by all these nations to improve their anti-
money laundering regimes resulted in all of them being removed from the list by June
2003. The Bahamas and the Cayman Islands were removed from the list in June
2001; St. Kitts and Nevis in June 2002; Dominica in October 2002; Grenada in
February 2003; and St. Vincent in June 2003. Once a nation is removed from the list,
the FATF continues to monitor developments in the country to ensure compliance.
Some Caribbean officials and others have complained that pressure to
strengthen and enforce anti-money laundering regimes in the region will have a
detrimental effect on its offshore financial sectors. They maintain that the anti-
money laundering measures required have been indiscriminate and constitute an
attack on legitimate business conducted in the small financial sectors of the region.
In particular, after the U.S. congressional passage of new anti-money laundering
provisions in the USA PATRIOT Act (P.L. 107-56, Title III), approved in the
aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, some feared that the stricter scrutiny
of transactions between U.S. and Caribbean financial institutions would threaten the
offshore financial industry in the Caribbean.9 The act’s anti-money laundering
provisions include a prohibition on U.S. correspondent accounts with shell banks
(banks that have no physical presence in the chartering country) and tighter bank
record keeping requirements.
9 For example, see “Barbados — Weighed Down by Money Laundering Controls —
Bankers and Government Officials Are Worried that Hasty Decisions in the War Against
Money Laundering Could Threaten the Financial Services Industry in Small Jurisdictions
Like Barbados,” The Banker, July 1, 2003; “U.S. Lawmaker: Antiterror Laws May Hurt
Offshore Banking,” Dow Jones International News, Jan. 5, 2003.
Some observers maintain that the strengthening of anti-money laundering
regimes in the Caribbean will have the end result of increasing the attractiveness of
the region’s offshore financial sectors for legitimate business transactions.
According to this view, such efforts as the FATF evaluative process and the newer
anti-money laundering measures under the PATRIOT Act will help change the
reputation of the Caribbean as being a haven for money launderers and tax evaders.
The United States has offered a one way duty-free preferential trade
arrangement for a wide range of products from Caribbean Basin nations since the
early 1980s as an incentive for increased investment and export production in the
region. In 1983, Congress enacted the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act
(CBERA) (P.L. 98-67), the centerpiece of a broader U.S. foreign policy initiative
known as the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) linking Central America and
Caribbean nations together under one preferential trade program. The CBERA
allowed duty-free importation of many categories of products with certain
exceptions. Most apparel and textile goods were ineligible under the CBERA, but
in the late 1980s imports of apparel from CBERA countries that were assembled
from U.S. components were eligible for reduced duties. These production-sharing
arrangements boosted the apparel sectors of several Caribbean Basin countries,
including most significantly the Dominican Republic. In 1990, Congress enacted so-
called CBI II legislation, the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Expansion Act of
1990 (P.L. 101-382, Title II), that enhanced the benefits of CBERA and made its
Congress approved the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA) (P.L.
106-200, Title II) in 2000, which expanded preferential tariff treatment for Caribbean
Basin nations, providing them with NAFTA-like tariff treatment. This includes
preferential treatment for qualifying textile and apparel products. The CBTPA
benefits are scheduled to expire in September 2008, or upon entry into force of the
Free Trade Area of the Americas, whichever comes first. Of the 15 independent
Caribbean countries eligible for CBTPA benefits (Cuba is not eligible), only 8 have
been designated to participate in the program because they fully meet the eligibility10
criteria set forth in the CBTPA. Belize, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and
Jamaica were designated in October 2000; Guyana was designated in November
Lucia were designated in June 2001. The remaining Caribbean countries continue
to benefit from the CBERA program, with the exception of Cuba, which is not
eligible, and Suriname, a former Dutch colony which has never elected to participate
in the CBI trade program.
Since the United States first implemented a preferential trade program for
Caribbean Basin imports in 1984, the overall performance of exports has been mixed
10 The criteria cover a wide spectrum of issues, including WTO obligations; intellectual
property rights; worker rights; child labor; and counter-narcotics, anti-corruption, and
(see Table 3). The Dominican Republic has been the Caribbean country that has
benefitted most from the program, and its apparel sector expanded significantly
because of production-sharing arrangements. Overall U.S. imports from the
Caribbean (not including Central America) amounted to about $4.8 billion in 1984
and to about $14.5 billion in 2005, an increase of about $9.7 billion. The Dominican
Republic accounted for $3.6 billion of the increase. Trinidad and Tobago, an oil and
gas exporter, increased its exports destined for the United States from $1.4 billion in
1984 to about $7.9 billion in 2005. For other Caribbean nations, however, such as
Haiti and the Bahamas, overall exports to the United States have declined or been
stagnant since the early 1980s. Bahamian exports to the United States fell when the
country’s oil refinery closed in 1985; the country’s economy remains based on
tourism and financial services.
U.S. exports to the Caribbean region (including agricultural exports to Cuba,11
which have been allowed since late 2001) rose from $8.9 billion in 2001 to $12.3
billion in 2005 (see Table 4). Four Caribbean countries — Dominican Republic,
Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, and the Bahamas — are the destination for the lion’s
share of U.S. exports to the region. In 2005, U.S. exports to these four countries
accounted for 78% of total U.S. exports to the Caribbean. The United States ran a
trade deficit of almost $2.2 billion with the Caribbean in 2005, largely because of and
natural gas imports from Trinidad and Tobago. For all other Caribbean nations, the
United States ran a significant trade surplus.
Movement Toward Free Trade
All Caribbean nations with the exception of Cuba are participating in the
negotiations for a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), although negotiations12
for that agreement have been stalled since 2004. Within CARICOM, while some
governments, like Trinidad and Tobago, are enthusiastic about the FTAA, other
Caribbean governments, especially the smaller countries of the region, have
reservations about the FTAA and its impact on the region. While participating in the
FTAA negotiations, Caribbean nations argue for special and differential treatment for
small economies, including longer phase-in periods. CARICOM has also called for
a Regional Integration Fund to be established that would help the smaller economies
meet their needs for human resources, technology, and infrastructure.
In the meantime, CARICOM, which often has been criticized for acting too
slowly, is trying to prepare itself for hemispheric integration by moving ahead with
its own regional integration. In April 2005, CARICOM members established the
Caribbean Court of Justice, headquartered in Port-of-Spain in Trinidad and Tobago,
that will serve as region’s final court of appeal and replace the Privy Council based
in London. The Court is expected to play an important role in the region’s economic
11 For further background on U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba, see CRS Report RL33499,
Exempting Food and Agricultural Products from U.S. Economic Sanctions: Status andth
Implementation; and CRS Report RL32730, Cuba: Issues for the 109 Congress.
12 For background and status of the FTAA negotiations, see CRS Report RS20864, A Free
Trade Areas of the Americas: Major Policy Issues and Status of Negotiations, by J.F.
integration by ruling on trade disputes in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy
The CSME allows for the free movement of goods, services, and capital. It
became operational in January 2006, with Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad leading
the way in moving ahead with its implementation. By July 2006, 12 out of 14
CARICOM nations had joined the CSME, with the exception of the Bahamas and
Haiti. Eastern Caribbean nations were enticed to join in part by a decision to
establish a regional Development Fund and Development Agency (to be operational
by July 2007) for poorer or disadvantaged countries. Some observers have expressed
skepticism that the CSME will have a significant impact on Caribbean economies
since intra-CARICOM trade is small.13 Barbadian Prime Minister Owen Arthur,
however, asserted in early October 2006, that the CSME has already increased his
country’s regional exports as well as job and investment opportunities for its
On April 12, 2006, U.S. and CARICOM trade officials meeting in Washington
began exploring the possibility of a free trade agreement, although Caribbean
ministers reportedly maintained that they would only negotiate such an agreement if
it included extensive transition periods for Caribbean nations.15 The officials also
agreed to revitalize a dormant Trade and Investment Council that had originally been
established in the early 1990s. The council will be the mechanism used to continue
exploratory talks on an FTA as well as other trade and investment issues.
The Dominican Republic and the United States completed negotiations for a
Free Trade Agreement on March 15, 2004, that was ultimately integrated with a free
trade agreement negotiated with Central American countries. Ultimately, Congress
approved legislation (P.L. 109-53) in July 2005 implementing the U.S.-Dominican
Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA). The agreement had
faced political uncertainty in Congress because of divergent U.S. views on relaxing
trade rules for sensitive agricultural and textile imports and on labor provisions. The
Dominican Republic views the agreement as a means of ensuring the continuation
of U.S. preferential treatment for textiles and apparel and a means to attract U.S.
investment. The Bush Administration views the agreement as a way for the region
to help create jobs, attract foreign investment, and advance good governance. (For
further information, see CRS Report RL31870, The Dominican Republic-Central
America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), by J.F. Hornbeck.)
In the 109th Congress, two identical bills referred to as the Caribbean Basin
Trade Enhancement Act of 2005 — H.R. 1213 (Hyde), introduced March 10, 2005,
and S. 704 (Martinez), introduced April 5, 2005 — would authorize up to $10
million in FY2006 for the Organization of American States (OAS) to establish a
13 “Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, Country Report,” Economist Intelligence Unit,
September 2006, p. 26.
14 “PM Says Barbados Benefitting From Single Caribbean Market Already,” BBC
Monitoring Latin America, Oct. 6, 2006.
15 “CARICOM Members Seek Special Treatment in FTA Talks with U.S.,” Inside U.S.
Trade, Apr. 14, 2006.
Center for Caribbean Basin Trade and up to $10 million for the OAS to establish a
skills-training program for Caribbean Basin countries.
Third Border Initiative and Security Issues
As first announced by President Bush at the April 2001 Summit of the
Americas, the “Third Border Initiative” (TBI) had the goals of deepening cooperation
in fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS, responding to natural disasters, and making sure
the benefits of globalization are felt in even the smallest economies. The Caribbean
was described as an often overlooked “third border,” where illegal drug trafficking,
migrant smuggling, and financial crime threaten U.S. and regional security interests.
The initiative consisted of a package of programs to enhance diplomatic, economic,
health, education, and law enforcement cooperation and collaboration. Most
significantly, the initiative included increased funding to combat HIV/AIDS in the16
In the aftermath of the September 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, the
Third Border Initiative expanded to focus on issues affecting U.S. homeland security
in the fields of administration of justice and security. Economic Support Funds
(ESF) under the TBI have been used to help Caribbean airports modernize their
safety and security regulations and oversight, which is viewed an important measure
to improve the security of visiting Americans. TBI funds have also been used to
support border security such as the strengthening of immigration controls; to help
Caribbean economies move toward greater competitiveness; and to support an17
improvement of environmental management. TBI funding amounted to $3 million
in FY2003, almost $5 million in FY2004, $8.9 million in FY2005, and an estimated
$2.97 million in FY2006. The FY2007 request for the TBI is for $3 million. (See
Tables 5 and 6 on U.S. assistance to the Caribbean at the end of this report.)
According to the State Department’s TBI budget request for FY2007, enhancing
border security will become of paramount importance in 2007 when eight Caribbean
nations (Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and
Nevis, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago) host the Cricket World Cup, an event
drawing thousands of visitors from around the world. In September 2006,
CARICOM officials were finalizing a regional security plan for the sporting event,
which will be held in March and April 2007.
In addition to the TBI, the United States has also provided support to improve
port security in the Caribbean region, with the objective of helping ports comply with
the more stringent set of maritime regulations embodied in new International Ship
and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code, which went into effect on July 1, 2004. The
ISPS is a set of maritime regulations for ships and port facilities with the objective
16 U.S. Department of State, International Information Programs, Washington File, “Fact
Sheet: Caribbean Third Border Initiative,” Apr. 21, 2001.
17 U.S. Department of State. Congressional Budget Justification for Foreign Operations.
of preventing terrorist incidents. There has been concern among Caribbean nations
about the high cost of implementing these security regulations. Some of the larger,
richer countries in the Caribbean will be better equipped to afford these extra security
costs, while some of the smaller and poorer nations will have difficulty coming into
The U.S. Coast Guard has responsibility for conducting foreign port security
assessments to see whether the ports are in compliance with the ISPS standards.
Trade sanctions are an option if the port is not in compliance. By November 2004,
all Caribbean nations had self-reported that they were in compliance with the more
stringent standards of the ISPS Code. The Coast Guard is currently involved in
visiting foreign ports worldwide to ensure that security practices are up to standards.
The United States has provided some support to help Caribbean nations come into
compliance with the ISPS Code: the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) in the
Department of Transportation organizes, manages, and implements the Inter-
American Port Security Training Program (IAPSTP) for the Organization of
American States; the State Department’s Bureau for International Narcotics and Law
Enforcement Affairs funds a port security technical assistance program for Western
Hemisphere countries; and USAID has funded a project specifically for Eastern
Caribbean nations to help assess the status of each port’s security requirements and
its security plans.
Several Caribbean ports are included in the Container Security Initiative (CSI),
a program implemented by U.S. Customs and Border Protection of the Department
of Homeland Security. The CSI program helps ensure that high-risk containers are
identified and inspected at foreign ports before they are placed on vessels for delivery
to the United States. In September 2006, three Caribbean ports became operational
CSI ports: Caucedo, Dominican Republic; Kingston, Jamaica; and Freeport,
Bahamas. Other Latin American ports in the CSI program are the Central American
port of Puerto Cortes, Honduras, and the South American ports of Buenos Aires,
Argentina, and Santos, Brazil.
In the 108th Congress, a legislative initiative called for additional foreign
assistance in order to improve foreign port security worldwide, but no final action
was completed before the end of the session. The Senate approved the Maritime
Transportation Security Act, S. 2279 (Hollings), in September 2004, which would
have provided for the Administrator of the Maritime Administration, in coordination
with the Secretary of State, to identify foreign assistance programs that could
facilitate implementation of port security antiterrorism measures in foreign countries.
The act also would have called for a report on the security of ports in the Caribbean
Basin, including an assessment of the effectiveness of the measures employed to
improved security at such ports and an assessment of the resources and program
changes needed to maximize security at Caribbean Basin ports.
In the 109th Congress, two bills would provide for foreign assistance programs
for Caribbean Basin ports. S. 744 (Nelson, Bill), introduced April 11, 2005, would
establish a Caribbean Basin Port Assistance Program. Under the legislative
initiative, the Administrator of MARAD in the Department of Transportation, in
coordination with the Secretary of State, would identify foreign assistance programs
that could facilitate implementation of port security antiterrorism measures at
Caribbean Basin ports. The Administrator and the Secretary would establish a
program for such assistance in consultation with the Organization of American
States. In addition, the Secretary of Homeland Security would be required to submit
a report to Congress on status of port security in Caribbean Basin countries. S. 1052
(Stevens), the Transportation Security Improvement Act of 2005, includes a
provision (Section 504) that would establish a program to facilitate implementation
of port security antiterrorism measures in foreign countries, with particular emphasis
on ports in the Caribbean Basin; this bill was introduced May 17, 2005, and reported
by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on February 27,
introduced May 11, 2006.
Rising crime is a major security challenge throughout the Caribbean. The
murder rate in Jamaica continues to soar, with 1,445 people killed in 2004 and more
than 1,600 people in 2005. With rate of 60 murders per 100,000 inhabitants in 2005,18
Jamaica had the highest murder rate in the world. In late February 2006, Jamaicans
were shocked over the brutal killings of six family members, including four young
children in the western part of the country. High levels of violent crime, including
murder and kidnaping, also have plagued Trinidad and Tobago and Haiti. Even
smaller Caribbean nations like St. Lucia have experienced a surge in violent crime.
On April 22, 2006, Guyana’s Agriculture minister, along with his two siblings and
a security guard, were shot and killed in an apparent robbery.
Gangs involved in drug trafficking, extortion, and violence are responsible for
much of the crime. Some observers believe that criminals deported from the United
States have contributed to the region’s surge in violent crime in recent years,
although some maintain that there is no established link. Jamaica has advocated the19
development of an international protocol regarding the deportation of criminals.
Caribbean Energy Security
A major concern for Caribbean nations — the majority of which are net energy
importers — has been the rising price of oil and the potential effect of such rising
prices on economic growth and social stability. In the Caribbean region, only three
nations — Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, and Barbados — have significant oil and gas
reserves. Of these, only Trinidad and Tobago is a major oil and gas producer,
accounting for 60% of proven oil reserves and 91% of natural gas reserves in the
region. The country is also the largest supplier of liquified natural gas (LNG) to the
United States, accounting for 75% of all U.S. LNG imports. Apart from Trinidad and
Tobago, Cuba also produces oil, but still imports a majority of its consumption
18 “Jamaica Named Murder Capital of the World,” BBC Monitoring Americas, Jan. 2, 2006.
19 “Jamaica Wants Protocol to Deal with Deportation of Criminals,” BBC Monitoring
Americas, Sept. 24, 2005.
needs. Barbados also produces a small amount of oil, which is refined in Trinidad
and Tobago, but it imports 90% of its oil consumption needs.20
Venezuela is now offering oil to Caribbean nations on preferential terms in a
new program known as PetroCaribe, and there has been some U.S. concern that the
program could increase Venezuela’s influence in the Caribbean region. Since 1980,
Caribbean nations have benefitted from preferential oil imports from Venezuela (and
Mexico) under the San Jose Pact, and since 2001, Venezuela has provided additional
support for Caribbean oil imports under the Caracas Energy Accord. PetroCaribe,
however, would go further with the goal of putting in place a regional supply,
refining, and transportation and storage network, and establishing a development
fund for those countries participating in the program. Under the program, Venezuela
announced that it would supply 190,000 barrels per day of oil to the region, with
countries paying market prices for 50% of the oil within 90 days, and the balance
paid over 25 years at an annual rate of 2%. When the price of crude oil is over $50
a barrel, as it is now, the interest is cut to 1%.21 To date, 14 Caribbean nations are
signatories of PetroCaribe. Barbados, which already receives discounted petroleum
rates from Trinidad, has declined to sign the agreement, and Trinidad, which has its
own significant energy resources, has declined to sign. (For additional information,
see CRS Report RL33693, Latin America: Energy Supply, Political Developments,
and U.S. Policy Approaches, by Mark P. Sullivan and Clare M. Ribando.)
HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean
The AIDS epidemic in the Caribbean, where infection rates are among the
highest outside of sub-Saharan Africa, has already begun to have negative
consequences for economic and social development in the region. In 2005, an
estimated 300,000 adults and children in the Caribbean were reported to be living
with HIV, with the epidemic claiming 24,000 lives during the year, making it the
leading cause of death among adults aged 15-44 years. The Caribbean countries with
the highest adult prevalence or infection rates were Haiti, with a rate over 3%; the
Bahamas, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago with rates over 2%; and Barbados,22
Belize, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Suriname with rates over 1%. In
contrast to other parts of Latin America, the mode of transmission in several
Caribbean countries has been primarily through heterosexual contact, making the
disease difficult to contain, because it affects the general population.
Haiti and the Dominican Republic account for the majority of the region’s
infected population. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) notes
that Haiti’s poverty, conflict, and unstable governance have contributed to the rapid
spread of AIDS; in some urban areas, HIV infection rates are almost 10%. In both
20 “Caribbean Fact Sheet,” U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration,
21 “Venezuela: Caribbean Will Receive 190,000 bpd,” Latinnews Daily, Sept. 8, 2005.
22 UNAIDS, “AIDS Epidemic Update,” December 2005, p. 53.
countries, however, there are indications that the epidemic could be reaching a
turning point because of prevention efforts.23
In Haiti, life expectancy is almost six years lower than it would be without the
epidemic, and in the Bahamas and Guyana, the number of deaths among 15-34 year
olds is two and one half times higher because of the epidemic.24 As the epidemic
continues, already-strained health systems will be further burdened with new cases
of AIDS. As a result of the epidemic, there are some 250,000 AIDS orphans in the
Caribbean, with 200,000 of those in Haiti.
Sex tourism is reportedly a factor contributing to rising HIV infection rates in
some Caribbean countries. Officials in Trinidad and Tobago have expressed concern
about the growth of sex tourism, the so-called “beach bum” phenomenon, and the
link to the spread of AIDS.25 In Jamaica, the resort town of Montego Bay has the
highest HIV infection rates in the country.26 In the Dominican Republic, AIDS
activists are concerned about child prostitution in resort areas and the spread of
According to the World Bank, continued increases in HIV prevalence in the
Caribbean will negatively affect economic growth. The epidemic, according to the
Bank, will have a negative impact on such economic sectors as agriculture, tourism,
lumber production, finance, and trade because of lost productivity of economically
active adults with the disease. In particular, the labor market in the region will be
dealt a shock because of deaths from AIDS. The Prime Minister of St. Kitts and
Nevis, Denzil Douglas, maintains that the epidemic threatens to cripple the labor
force just as the region needs to become more competitive in world markets amid the
momentum toward hemispheric free trade.28 Looking ahead, the World Bank warned
in 2001 that “what happened in Africa in less than two decades could now happen
in the Caribbean if action is not taken while the epidemic is in the early stages.”29
23 Ibid., pp. 54-56.
24 UNAIDS, Latin America and the Caribbean Fact Sheet, July 2002.
25 “Sex Tourism Cause of HIV Spread, Says T&T Minister,” The Weekly Gleaner (Jamaica),
Feb. 19, 2003. The commercial sex industry linked to tourism reportedly is well established
in the Caribbean, with increasing male prostitution by so-called “beach boys.” See “The
Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework for HIV/AIDS,” Pan Caribbean Partnership on
HIV/AIDS and CARICOM, March 2002, p. 7. Also see Annan Boodram, “The Beach Bum
Phenomena,” Caribbean Voice, Aug. 3, 2002, and Julie Bindel, “The Price of a Holiday
Fling,” Guardian (London), July 5, 2003.
26 “Rising Rate of AIDS in the Caribbean,” All Things Considered, National Public Radio,
July 2, 2003.
27 “AIDS Activists Worried Over Child Prostitution in Dominican Republic,” Boston
Haitian Reporter, Jan. 31, 2003.
28 “Caribbean Leaders Call AIDS ‘Single Biggest Threat’ to Development, Announce Push
for Low-Cost Antiretrovirals,” Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, July 8, 2003.
29 World Bank, HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean: Issues and Options, March 2001, p. xii.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has been the lead
U.S. agency fighting the epidemic abroad since 1986. USAID’s funding for
HIV/AIDS in Central America and the Caribbean region rose from $11.2 million in
FY2000 to $33.8 million in FY2003. Because of the inclusion of Guyana and Haiti
as focus countries in the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR),
funded largely through the Global HIV/AIDS Initiative (GHAI) account, U.S.
assistance to the Caribbean and Central America for HIV/AIDS increased to $47
million in FY2004, $82.5 million in FY2005, and an estimated $92.7 million in
FY2006. For FY2007, the Administration requested $88 million in GHAI funding
for Guyana ($25 million) and Haiti ($63 million), and another $25 million for non-
focus countries and programs in Central America and the Caribbean through the
Child Survival and Health funding account.
Some Members of Congress want to expand the list of Caribbean countries
beyond Guyana and Haiti that were cited in 2003 HIV/AIDS legislation, the United
States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act of 2003 (P.L.
108-25). In the 108th Congress, both the House-passed FY2004-FY2005 Foreign
Relations Authorization Act, H.R. 1950 (Section 1818), and the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee’s reported FY2005 Foreign Relations Authorization Act, S.
2144 (Section 2518), had provisions that would have added 14 Caribbean countries
to those listed in the 2003 legislation, but no final action was taken on these
measures. In the 109th Congress, S. 600, the Foreign Affairs Authorization Act,
FY2006 and FY2007, contains a provision (Section 2516) that would add 14
Caribbean countries to the list of focus countries targeted for increased HIV/AIDS
Other legislative initiatives in the 109th Congress include the following: P.L.
109-95 (H.R. 1409, Lee), approved by both houses in October 2005, and signed into
law November 8, 2005, amends the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to provide
assistance for orphans and other vulnerable children in developing countries,
including in the Caribbean; H.R. 164 (Millender-McDonald), introduced January 4,
2005, would amend the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to provide for the
establishment of pediatric centers in certain developing countries, including Guyana,
to provide treatment and care for children with HIV/AIDS; and S. 350 (Lugar) and
H.R. 945 (Lee), both introduced in February 2005, would provide assistance to
combat infectious diseases in Haiti, including HIV/AIDS, and to establish a
comprehensive health infrastructure.
For further information, see CRS Report RL32001, HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean
and Central America, by Mark P. Sullivan; and CRS Report RS21181, HIV/AIDS
International Programs: Appropriations, FY2003-FY2006, by Tiaji Salaam-Blyther.
Hurricanes and Tropical Storms
Since 2004, the Caribbean Basin region has been devastated by numerous
storms and floods. Several Caribbean nations — especially Haiti, Grenada, Jamaica,
and the Bahamas — were hard hit during the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season.
Hurricane Charley struck western Cuba in August 2004, damaging over 70,000
homes and thousands of hectares of crops. Hurricane Frances struck the Bahamas
in September 2004, causing widespread damage throughout the country’s islands. In
the same month, Hurricane Ivan caused severe damage across the Caribbean: it
devastated Grenada, damaging some 80% of the nation’s housing, and destroying or
damaging much of country’s public infrastructure; it passed over Jamaica, causing
damage in the western part of the island and in southern coastal towns; it struck the
British dependency of the Cayman Islands, damaging 50% of the homes on the island
of Grand Cayman; and it affected western Cuba, damaging houses and crops.
Tropical Storm Jeanne caused devastating mudslides and floods in northern Haiti in
September 2004 that killed some 3,000 people, with over 2,800 of those in the city
of Gonaives. Another 300,000 Haitians were affected by the loss of homes,
livelihoods, and infrastructure.
The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season had an unprecedented 28 named storms,
including 15 hurricanes, with six of these — Hurricanes Dennis, Emily, Stan, Wilma,
Beta, and Tropical Storm Gamma — causing widespread damage and more than 800
deaths in Central America and the Caribbean. This surpassed the previous record of
21 named storms in 1933. In early July, Hurricane Dennis heavily damaged central
Cuba with floods, tidal surges, and landslides and also affected Haiti’s southern
peninsula with heavy rains. Later in July, Hurricane Emily passed near Grenada,
causing destruction in the northern part of the island that had been spared by
Hurricane Ivan in 2004. In early October, Hurricane Stan made landfall near
Veracruz, Mexico and generated severe floods in southern Mexico and Central
America, especially in Guatemala where more than 600 people were killed. In late
October, Hurricane Wilma made landfall in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, affecting
more than 1 million people, while Hurricane Beta caused flooding in Honduras and
Nicaragua. Late in the season, Tropical Storm Gamma caused extensive flooding in30
northern Honduras in November.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) initially
forecast another active season in 2006, with 13-16 named storms. Of these, 8-10 were
predicted to become hurricanes and 4-6 were predicted to be major hurricanes of
Category 3 strength or higher (over 110 miles per hour).31 (The average Atlantic
hurricane season, according to NOAA, averages 11 named storms, with 6 becoming
hurricanes, and 2 of these major hurricanes.) These predictions proved wrong,
however, and this year probably will not reach the average of past years. As of late
October 2006, there were nine named storms, including five hurricanes, a relatively
30 USAID, Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, “Latin American and the Caribbean
— Hurricane Season 2005,” Fact Sheet #3, FY2006, Nov. 23, 2005.
31 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “NOAA: 2006 Atlantic Hurricane
Outlook,” Press Release, May 22, 2006.
weak hurricane season. Early in the season, Tropical Storm Alberto hit Cuba with
heavy rains in June, but without significant damage. In August 2006, Tropical Storm
Ernesto caused flooding in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
U.S. Humanitarian and Reconstruction Assistance
In response to the devastating 2004 hurricane season, the United States provided
immediate humanitarian assistance to several Caribbean nations, especially Grenada,
Haiti, and Jamaica, but also the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba.
USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) set up Disaster Assistance
Response Teams (DARTs) to respond to the storms, with team members located in
the various islands. By the end of October 2004, USAID had provided almost $23
million in emergency humanitarian assistance, largely for assistance to respond to
Hurricane Ivan and Tropical Storm Jeanne. In addition, the 108th Congress
appropriated $100 million in emergency assistance (P.L. 108-324) in late October
2004 to provide longer-term reconstruction assistance for Caribbean nations afflicted
by the storms.
The reconstruction assistance was targeted as follows: $42 million for Grenada,
$38 million for Haiti, $18 million for Jamaica, and $2 million for other countries
affected by the storms. In Grenada, USAID’s assistance program had two phases.
The first was a short-term program to restore and revitalize rural communities, repair
schools and health centers, and reestablish the productive capacity of small and
medium-size businesses. The second, longer-term phase focused on rebuilding
infrastructure, revitalizing the business sector, and restoring the government’s
economic management capacity.
In Haiti, the reconstruction program had two major components. A community
revitalization component involved road repair, disaster mitigation, water system
rehabilitation, drainage and clean up, public building rehabilitation, and household
repairs. A rural revitalization component involved hillside stabilization, irrigation,
and an early warning system for flooding on the La Quinte River, which flows past
Gonaives, the city that was devastated by Tropical Storm Jeanne.
The Jamaica assistance program also had two phases. The first was an
immediate recovery program to help repair community infrastructure and help
revitalize the agricultural sector. The second phase involved the repair and
rebuilding of homes, assistance for business recovery, and the rehabilitation and re-
supply of schools. Other smaller hurricane assistance programs targeted affected
communities in the Bahamas and Tobago, and also provided assistance to Eastern
Caribbean nations to design and implement risk reduction efforts for low-income
32 USAID, USAID/Jamaica-Caribbean Regional Program. “Hurricane Recovery &
Rehabilitation Program for Grenada, Jamaica, and the Caribbean Region,” Eleventh Report,
In May 2006, GAO issued a report reviewing USAID’s $100 million disaster
assistance program for the Caribbean.33 GAO concluded that USAID had completed
many of the activities within a planned one-year timeframe, expending 77% of the
assistance by December 2005, but that several factors had hampered the agency’s
ability to complete all the projects within the timeframe. These factors included
severe weather that delayed some projects in Jamaica and Haiti, coordination
challenges that negatively affected USAID’s completion of construction projects in
Grenada and Jamaica, difficulty identifying housing recipients in all three countries,
and security challenges in Haiti.
For the 2005 hurricane season, USAID provided about $12.5 million in disaster
assistance to Central American and Caribbean nations as well as Mexico, about $6.4
million of which was provided by OFDA. Guatemala, which was hard hit by
Hurricane Stan, received the bulk of the assistance, $9.2 million, with $4 million of
that in emergency food assistance. Other countries that received lesser amounts of
assistance, ranging from $1.2 million to $50,000 in descending order, were El
Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras, Cuba, Grenada, the Bahamas, Haiti, and
Many of the hurricane recovery and reconstruction projects implemented by
USAID in Central America and the Caribbean have included components to
strengthen disaster mitigation efforts. For the Hurricane Ivan and Tropical Storm
Jeanne recovery programs in the Caribbean, disaster mitigation efforts were an
integral part of the reconstruction process. Better building standards were
incorporated into the programs. In Haiti, civil protection committees were
established and risk management plans were implemented as well as hillside
stabilization efforts and early warning systems for floods. Grenadian officials
maintain that, while reconstruction is still not complete, the country is better prepared
than in past years for withstanding hurricanes.35
OFDA also provides support for disaster preparedness and mitigation programs
in Latin America and the Caribbean to reduce the loss of life and lessen the economic
impact caused by disasters. In the Caribbean, OFDA has provided support to the
Caribbean Development Bank since 2000 to establish a disaster mitigation facility
that supports activities to reduce risk and losses from disasters in the English-
speaking Caribbean. OFDA has also supported efforts of the U.N. Development
Program (UNDP) in Haiti to reduce natural hazards faced by vulnerable populations.
According to Adolfo Franco, USAID’s Assistant Administrator for Latin
America and the Caribbean, OFDA has collaborated with NOAA to improve disaster
mitigation efforts in the region. The agencies work with countries in the region to
provide state-of-the-art hurricane warnings and updates and to improve the capacity
33 U.S. GAO, “Foreign Assistance: USAID Completed Many Caribbean Disaster Recovery
Activities, but Several Challenges Hampered Efforts,” GAO-06-645, May 2006.
34 USAID, Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, “Latin American and the Caribbean
— Hurricane Season 2005,” Fact Sheet #3, FY2006, Nov. 23, 2005.
35 “Grenada Better Prepared for Hurricanes this Year — Minister,” BBC Monitoring
Americas, June 13, 2006.
of forecasters in the region to provide early warnings. In the aftermath of the 2004
hurricane season, NOAA also deployed new hurricane buoys to enhance monitoring
and forecast storm tracking in the Caribbean. NOAA’s National Weather Service
(NWS) also issues various forecasts for the Caribbean Basin region, and most
weather agencies in the region are in communication with the NWS. Nine Caribbean
Basin nations also participate in a cooperative forecasting operations agreement with
NOAA’s International Activities Office.
Legislative Initiatives in the 109th Congress
Caribbean-American Heritage Month. H.Con.Res. 71 (Lee), introduced
February 17, 2005, passed by the House on June 27, 2005, and by the Senate on
February 14, 2006, expresses the sense of Congress that there should be established
a Caribbean-American Heritage Month (Subsequently, on June 5, 2006, President
Bush proclaimed June as Caribbean-American heritage month.)
Afro-Descendant Communities. H.Con.Res. 175 (Rangel), introduced
June 8, 2005, and passed by the House (382-6, 2 present), and S.Con.Res. 90 (Dodd),
introduced May 1, 2006, acknowledge African descendants of the transatlantic slave
trade in all of the Americas with an emphasis on descendants in Latin America and
the Caribbean, recognize the injustices suffered by these African descendants and
recommend that the United States and the international community work to improve
the situation of Afro-descendant communities in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Social Investment and Economic Development Fund. H.R. 953
(Menendez), introduced February 17, 2005, and S. 682 (Dodd), introduced March 17,
2005, would authorize the establishment of a Social Investment and Economic
Development Fund for the Americas to proved assistance to reduce poverty and
foster increased economic opportunity in Western Hemisphere countries, including
in the Caribbean.
Debt. H.R. 1130 (Waters), introduced March 3, 2005, would provide for the
cancellation of debts owed to international financial institutions by eligible poor
countries, including the Caribbean nations of Guyana, Haiti, and Jamaica.
Education. H.R. 5784 (Lee), introduced July 13, 2006, would authorize
assistance for a United States-Caribbean educational exchange program and for a
USAID program to extend and expand existing primary and secondary school
initiatives in the Caribbean.
Document Requirements. P.L. 109-295 (H.R. 5441),FY2007 Department
of Homeland Security Appropriations, signed into law October 4, 2006; Section 546
of the bill amends the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004
(P.L. 108-458) by extending the deadline requiring U.S. citizens traveling by land or
sea between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the
Caribbean, and Bermuda to have passports or other documents denoting identity and
citizenship. The deadline was extended from January 1, 2008 to June 1, 2009, or
earlier if the Secretary of State and Secretary of Homeland Security jointly certify
certain criteria regarding the new document or passport card being developed. (Note:
A deadline of January 8, 2007, remains in place for U.S. citizens to have passports
for travel by air between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central and South
America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda.)
Trade. P.L. 109-53 (H.R. 3045), the Dominican Republic-Central America-
United States Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act; both houses approved in
July 2005, and the measure was signed into law August 2, 2005. Two identical bills
referred to as the Caribbean Basin Trade Enhancement Act of 2005 — H.R. 1213
(Hyde), introduced March 10, 2005, and S. 704 (Martinez), introduced April 5, 2005
— would authorize up to $10 million in FY2006 for the Organization of American
States (OAS) to establish a Center for Caribbean Basin Trade and up to $10 million
for the OAS to establish a skills-training program for Caribbean Basin countries.
H.R. 3176 (Menendez), introduced June 30, 2005, would amend the Caribbean Basin
Economic Recovery Act to provide for preferential treatment for certain apparel
articles that are both cut (or knit to shape) and sewn or otherwise assembled in a
beneficiary country under the act from fabrics or yarn not widely available in
Port Security. S. 1052 (Stevens), the Transportation Security Improvement
Act of 2005, introduced May 17, 2005, reported by the Senate Committee on
Commerce, Science, and Transportation on February 27, 2006, includes a provision
(Section 504) that would establish a program to facilitate implementation of port
security antiterrorism measures in foreign countries, with particular emphasis on
ports in the Caribbean Basin; identical provisions are included in S. 2791 (Stevens),
introduced May 11, 2006. S. 744 (Nelson, Bill), introduced April 11, 2005, would
establish a Caribbean Basin Port Assistance Program.
HIV/AIDS. P.L. 109-95 (H.R. 1409, Lee), introduced March 17, 2005,
approved by both houses in October 2005, and signed into law November 8, 2005,
amends the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to provide assistance for orphans and
other vulnerable children in developing countries, including in the Caribbean. H.R.
164 (Millender-McDonald), introduced January 4, 2005, would amend the Foreign
Assistance Act of 1961 to provide for the establishment of pediatric centers in certain
developing countries, including Guyana, to provide treatment and care for children
with HIV/AIDS. H.R. 945 (Lee), introduced February 17, 2005, would provide
assistance to combat infectious diseases in Haiti, including HIV/AIDS, and to
establish a comprehensive health infrastructure. S. 600 (Lugar), introduced March
10, 2005, the Foreign Affairs Authorization Act, FY2006 and FY2007, contains a
provision (Section 2516) that would add 14 Caribbean countries to the list of focus
countries targeted for increased HIV/AIDS assistance. The list already includes
Guyana and Haiti.
Tsunami Detection and Warning. P.L. 109-13 (H.R. 1268), Emergency
Supplemental for FY2005, signed into law May 11, 2005, provided $10.2 million for
buoys for the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Sea for
observing ocean conditions at depth. Several legislative initiatives have been
introduced in the 109th Congress regarding support for a U.S. tsunami detection and
warning system, including in the Caribbean region. These include S. 50 (Inouye),
passed by the Senate July 11, 2005; H.R. 1674 (Boehlert), reported by the House
Committee on Science September 28, 2006; and S. 1753 (DeMint), introduced
September 22, 2005, and reported by the Committee on Commerce, Science, and
Transportation December 8, 2005 (S.Rept. 109-204). For analysis of these
initiatives, and information on additional legislative initiatives, see CRS Report
RL32739, Tsunamis: Monitoring, Detection, and Early Warning Systems, by Wayne
Commercial Whaling. H.Con.Res. 441 (DeFazio), introduced June 29,
2006, would express the sense of Congress regarding the “regrettable” votes cast by
certain Caribbean countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and
Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines) for a resumption of commercial
whaling at the 58th annual International Whaling Commission meeting in St. Kitts in
Cuba. Numerous legislative initiatives have been introduced in the 109th
Congress regarding Cuba’s human rights situation, U.S. economic sanctions
(including the overall embargo, travel restrictions, and restrictions on financing for
U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba), and radio and television broadcasting. For a
listing of legislative initiatives and action, see CRS Report RL32730, Cuba: Issues
for the 109th Congress, by Mark P. Sullivan.
Guyana. H.Res. 792 (Meeks), approved by the House by voice vote on June
12, 2006, recognizes the 40th anniversary of Guyana’s independence and extends best
wishes to Guyana for peace and further development, progress, and prosperity.
H.Con.Res. 74 (Meeks), introduced February 17, 2005, would express the sense of
Congress with respect to the urgency of providing adequate assistance to Guyana,
devastated by severe flooding. Also see H.R. 164 in the “HIV/AIDS” section above;
and H.R. 1130 in the “General” section above.
Haiti. Numerous legislative initiatives have been introduced in the 109th
Congress regarding Haiti, including on migration, reconstruction assistance, health
assistance, and on the establishment of an independent commission examining the
U.S. role in the 2004 “coup” in Haiti. For a listing of legislative initiatives and
action, see CRS Report RL32294, Haiti: Developments and U.S. Policy Since 1991
and Current Congressional Concerns, by Maureen Taft-Morales.
Jamaica. H.Res. 727 (Waters), introduced March 14, 2006, would
congratulate Portia Simpson Miller for becoming the first female Prime Minister-
designate of Jamaica. H.Con.Res. 362 (Jackson-Lee), introduced March 16, 2006,
would congratulate Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller for becoming the first
democratically elected female Prime Minister of Jamaica.
Montserrat. Two bills — H.R. 342 (Owens), introduced January 25, 2005,
and S. 297 (Schumer), introduced February 7, 2005, would provide for adjustment
of immigration status for certain aliens granted temporary protected status in the
United States because of conditions in Montserrat.
For Additional Reading
CRS Report RL33337, Article 98 Agreements and Sanctions on U.S. Foreign Aid to
Latin America, by Clare M. Ribando.
CRS Report RL32322, Central America and the Dominican Republic in the Context
of the Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) with the United States, coordinated
by K. Larry Storrs.
CRS Report RL32730, Cuba: Issues for the 109th Congress, by Mark P. Sullivan.
CRS Report RS21718, Dominican Republic: Political and Economic Conditions and
U.S. Relations, by Clare Ribando.
CRS Report RL31870, The Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free
Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA), by J.F. Hornbeck.
CRS Report RS21930, Ethanol Imports and the Caribbean Basin Initiative, by Brent
CRS Report RS20864, A Free Trade Area of the Americas: Major Policy Issues and
Status of Negotiations, by J.F. Hornbeck.
CRS Report RL32294, Haiti: Developments and U.S. Policy Since 1991 and Current
Congressional Concerns, by Maureen Taft-Morales.
CRS Report RL32001, HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean and Central America, by Mark
CRS Report RS22372, Jamaica: Political and Economic Conditions and U.S.
Relations, by Mark P. Sullivan
CRS Report 98-684, Latin America and the Caribbean: Fact Sheet on Leaders and
Elections, by Mark P. Sullivan and Barbara Salazar Torreon.
CRS Report RL33693, Latin America: Energy Supply Political Developments, and
U.S. Policy Approaches, by Mark P. Sullivan and Clare Ribando.
CRS Report RL32733, Latin America and the Caribbean: Issues for the 109th
Congress, coordinated by Mark P. Sullivan.
CRS Report RL33162, Trade Integration in the Americas, by M. Angeles Villarreal.
CRS Report RL33200, Trafficking in Persons in Latin America and the Caribbean,
by Clare M. Ribando.
CRS Report RL32739, Tsunamis: Monitoring, Detection, and Early Warning
Systems, by Wayne A. Morrissey.
CRS Report RL32487, U.S. Foreign Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean,
coordinated by Connie Veillette.
Table 1. Caribbean Countries: Basic Facts
PopulationPer CapitaRate (%ages 15
Area (2004,Income (U.S. $,and above, 2003
Country(sq. miles)thousands)2004 est.)est.)
Bahama s 5,382 320 14,920 95.5
Barbados 166 272 9,270 99.7
Belize 8,867 283 3,940 76.9
Cuba 44,200 11,365 a 96.9
Domi nica 290 71 3,650 88.0
Domi nican 18,704 8,900 2,080 87.7
Grenada 133 106 3,760 96.0
Guya na 82,980 772 990 96.5
Haiti 10,714 8,600 390 51.9
J a ma ica 4,244 2,700 2,900 87.6
St. Kitts and Nevis10147`7,60097.8
Suriname 63,037 443 2,250 88.0
Sources: Area statistics are drawn from the U.S. Department of State Background Notes for each
country; population and per capita income statistics are from the World Bank’s World Development
Report 2006; adult literacy rates are from the United Nations’ Human Development Report 2005.
a. Estimated by the World Bank to be between $826-$3,255.
Table 2. Caribbean Leaders and Elections
CountryHead of GovernmentLast ElectionNext Election
Antigua &SPENCER, BaldwinMar. 23, 2004 by Mar. 2009
BahamasCHRISTIE, PerryMay 2002by May 2007
BarbadosARTHUR, Owen May 21, 2003by May 2008
BelizeMUSA, SaidMar. 5, 2003by Mar. 2008
CubaCASTRO, Fidel aa
DominicaSKERRITT, RooseveltMay 5, 2005by May 2010
DominicanFERNANDEZ, LeonelMay 16, 2004May 2008
GrenadaMITCHELL, Keith Nov. 27, 2003by Nov. 2008
GuyanaBHARRAT, Jagdeo Aug. 28, 2006by Dec. 2011
HaitiPRÉVAL, RéneFeb. 7, 2006 2011
JamaicaSIMPSON MILLER, PortiabOct. 2002by Oct. 2007
St. Kitts & NevisDOUGLAS, Denzil Oct. 25, 2004by Oct. 2009
St. LuciaANTHONY, KennyDec. 2001by Dec. 2006
St. Vincent &GONSALVES, RalphDec. 7, 2005by Mar. 2010
SurinameVENETIAAN, Ronald May 25, 2005May 2010
Trinidad &MANNING, PatrickOct. 7, 2002by Oct. 2007
a. Castro has served as head of government since the 1959 Cuban Revolution. Since that time, there
have been no elections for head of government.
b. Portia Simpson Miller was sworn in as Prime Minister in March 30, 2006, after replacing out-
going Prime Minster P.J. Patterson as leader of the ruling People’s National Party.
Table 3. U.S. Imports from Caribbean Countries
(U.S. $ millions)
Country 1984 2002 2003 2004 2005
Bahama s 1,154.282 449.697 479.305 637.687 699.936
Barbados 252.598 34.438 43.428 36.882 31.904
Belize 42.843 77.668 101.443 107.020 98.265
Domi nica .086 4.670 5.252 2.883 3.344
Grenada .766 6.886 7.602 5.101 5.853
Guya na 74.417 115.615 118.690 122.398 119.931
Haiti 377.413 255.007 332.340 370.681 447.217
J a ma ica 396.949 396.317 422.749 319.737 375.572
St. Kitts and Nevis23.13548.62744.58841.70949.719
Suriname * 104.636 132.722 140.064 140.820 165.346
Tot a l 4,799.911 8,170.014 10,514.352 12,176.96 14,544.116
Source: 1984 statistics are from U.S. International Trade Commission, The Impact of the Caribbean
Basin Economic Recovery Act, Fifteenth Report, 1999-2000, September 2001; 2000-2005 trade
statistics are from the Department of Commerce, as presented by World Trade Atlas.
* Suriname has not been a beneficiary of the Caribbean Basin Initiative preferential trade program.
Table 4. U.S. Exports to Caribbean Countries
(U.S. $ millions)
Country 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
Bahama s 1,026.342 975.309 1,074.694 1,185.751 1,786.740
Barbados 286.613 267.646 300.095 348.432 394.920
Belize 173.167 137.667 198.808 151.832 217.563
Cuba 7.096 145.649 259.127 404.141 369.035
Domi nica 30.690 44.972 34.332 35.989 61.540
Domi nican 3,757.045 4,250.068 4,205.449 4,358.279 4,718.733
Grenada 59.873 56.406 68.420 70.103 82.440
Guya na 141.252 128.208 117.148 138.411 176.705
Haiti 550.383 573.185 639.441 672.978 709.621
J a ma ica 1,405.522 1,420.187 1,469.545 1,430.780 1,700.769
St. Kitts and46.33849.46158.76860.32294.069
Suriname 155.306 124.757 192.655 179.189 245.701
Tot a l 8,947.875 9,415.033 9,974.853 10,520.289 12,345.831
Source: Trade statistics are from the Department of Commerce, as presented by World Trade Atlas.
Table 5. U.S. Foreign Assistance to the Caribbean,
(U.S. $ millions)
Country F Y 2003 F Y 2004 F Y 2005 (estimate) ( r equest )
Bahama s 1.336 1.264 1.294 2.512 0.805
Belize 2.046 2.082 2.799 2.251 2.289
Cuba 6.000 21.369 8.928 10.890 9.000
Domi nican 28.099 33.968 28.652 27.108 35.007
Guya na 8.407 11.590 20.255 23.965 31.009
Haiti 71.887 132.324 182.717 194.384 198.039
J a ma ica 22.337 24.186 22.459 19.472 16.617
Suriname 1.397 1.471 1.486 1.627 3.000
Caribbean 13.008 10.310 110.909 11.326 11.640
East er n a 4.255 6.900 4.958 4.813 4.774
OAS Special — 4.971 — — —
Mission in Haiti
Enduring — — — 3.9604.000
T otal 162.312 255.411 393.434 306.306 322.074
Source: U.S. Department of State, FY2004-FY2007 Congressional Budget Justifications for Foreign
a. The Eastern Caribbean category funds military assistance and Peace Corp programs for seven
countries. Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia,
and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Development assistance for these nations is funded under
U.S. AID’s Caribbean Regional program.
Table 6. U.S. Foreign Assistance to the Caribbean FY2006
Estimates and FY2007 Requests
($ in millions)
FY2006 — — — — — .184.108.40.2062.52
FY2007 Req. — — — — — .23.50.08 — 0.81
B e lize
FY2006 — — — — — .20 — .201.862.26
FY2007 Req. — — — — — .25 — .181.872.30
FY20061.98 — — 8.91 — — — — — 10.89
FY2007 Req. — — — 9.00 — — — — — 9.00
FY20067.0712.72 — 1.98 — 1.29 — .943.1227.12
FY2007 Req.6.0111.34 — 12.00 — 1.09 — .733.8535.02
FY20063.96 — 18.00 — — .30 — .101.6123.97
FY2007 Req.4.00 — 25.00 — — .32 — .081.6131.01
FY2006 29.70 19.80 47.30 49.50 31.48 .21 14.85 .99 .55 194.38
FY20069.584.47 — — — .89.99.592.9519.47
FY2007 Req.7.392.81 — — — .75.90.504.2716.62
Sur i name
FY2006 — — — — — .15 — .101.381.63
FY2007 Req. — — — — — .15 — .081.471.70
Trinidad & Tobago
FY2006a — — — — — .05 — — .981.03
FY2007 Req. — — — — — .05 — — 2.852.90
Third Border Initiative
FY2006 — — — 2.97 — — — — — 2.97
FY2007 Req. — — — 3.00 — — — — — 3.00
Operation Enduring Friendship
FY2006 — — — — — — — 3.96 — 3.96
FY2007 Req. — — — — — — — 4.00 — 4.00
FY20064.896.44 — — — — — — — 11.33
FY2007 Req.6.005.64 — — — — — — — 11.64
FY2006 — — — — — .76 — .893.164.81
FY2007 Req. — — — — — .77 — .783.234.78
Total - FY200657.1843.4365.3063.3631.484.2416.348.7617.14307.23
Total - FY200746.5435.6088.0074.0034.503.8611.407.2119.71320.82
Source: Figures are drawn from U.S. Department of State Congressional Budget Justification,
Summary Tables, Fiscal Year 2007. Table prepared by Connie Veillette, CRS, February 28, 2006.
Operation Enduring Friendship includes activities in Panama.
Figure 1. Caribbean Region