The US Navy Carrier Strike Group fronted by the Nimitz-class USS George Washington (CVN 73) is making a two-month visit to the Caribbean "…to touch base with our partner countries…" says US Brig. General Kenneth Glueck.
The Carrier Strike Group will be visiting in St. Maarten on Good Friday – April 14, 2006. Other countries on the tour include Honduras, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Curacao, Aruba* and St. Kitts – but not Barbados.
According to a policy wonk at the "Inter-American Dialogue Policy Institute", the Caribbean operation is also a message to China that the United States will not ignore that China has been investing heavily in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Our Take: Barbados Is Also Being Sent A Message
Besides spreading havoc and mayhem among smugglers throughout the Caribbean, the visit by the US Carrier Strike Group is an important political exercise to deliver messages on the world stage.
In this case, the most likely intended recipients of the primary messages are Venezuela and China – but the non-visit to Barbados (not even by one of the auxiliary minor ships in the Group) might also be a message directed to Barbados.
Barbados Cozying Up to China, Cuba & Venezuela
The Government of Barbados has of late been seen cozying up to Communist states Cuba and China – as well as leftist Venezuela.
Just last week, the People's Republic of China "gave" new boats, engines, electronics, equipment and computers to the Barbados Defense Force. This China-Barbados "co-operation" is nothing new, according to the Barbados Advocate…
"In the last six years, the Barbados Defence Force has been receiving technical assistance from the People's Republic of China in various ways including training and exchange programmes. They now have new equipment. In the picture above, members of both the land forces and the naval forces look over some of the equipment donated to the BDF from the Chinese Embassy."
We have already covered the increasingly cozy relationship between Barbados and Cuba – and in particular between Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro and Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur, who seem to be The Best of Friends…
Where is Prime Minister Owen Arthur Taking Barbados?
Barbados must never be anyone's lapdog – whether we are talking about the USA, Britain, China or anyone else… But true independence is not to be found in trying to sell yourself to the highest bidder. True independence, whether for a person or a country, comes from self-reliance.
If the PM plans to court all the super-powers like a pretty maiden at the dance who enjoys making all the boys jealous – he had better think again. Sometimes the pretty maiden just ends up looking like a whore.
Primary Story Source: Chron.com, Associated Press Story
Ship photo courtesy of the US Navy.
* Aruba Visit by USS George Washington
We have to wonder how much of the reason for the visit is to repair US-Aruban relations after the infamous botched Natallee Holloway murder investigation.
UPDATE: Last Royal Navy Visit Was When?
A reader just emailed and asked if we knew when the last time a Royal Navy warship visited Barbados. It has been years since I've personally seen one visiting Bridgetown, and I can't find anything on Google. Can anyone advise?
posted by Robert