Thursday, April 7, 2016

Der Karibische Raum: Selbstbestimmung und Aussenabhängigkeit

Grenz, Wolfgang & Martina Rauls, Der Karibische Raum: Selbstbestimmung und Aussenabhängigkeit, Hamburg: Institut für Iberoamerika-Kunde, Dokumentations-Leitstelle Lateinamerika, 1980.

The Caribbean area: self-determination and external dependence:
The aim of this documentation is to outline the possibilities and limits of self-determination in the heterogeneous world of Caribbean island states and dependent territories. Its objective is less to analyse the situation than, primarily, to provide a structured collection of material as an incentive to further research. It is an attempt to convey a Caribbean viewpoint, always bearing in mind that the Caribbean area is, by way of a deliberate fiction, regarded as a regional unit in terms of geographical, socio-historical and political significance. Basic data, bibliography, documents and statistics are intended to serve this purpose. So, of course, are the essays.

The essays probe three instances of current problems facing the region. In an introductory essay, G. Sandner provides an overview of the historical changes in significance of the terms Antilles, West Indies and Caribbean and explains why the term Caribbean area, the characterstics of which include complex internal structures and variety, has been given preference. After dealing with the various demarcation theories, illustrated with maps, he reaches an important intermediate conclusion in quoting Manigat's "Tell me what is your definition of the Caribbean and I will tell you where you are politically situated". He goes on to the problem of where the region stands and, using a term coined by A. Kolb, defines the Caribbean as a cultural continent on a par with Latin America or Anglo America. A final section deals with the Caribbean as a maritime complex, goes into the importance of the Law of the Sea debate and maps out practical proposals on potential claims to territorial waters, including 200-mile economic zones.

The second essay deals, in a review of subject literature, with the problem of external dependence and regional integration from the viewpoint of Caribbean social scientists. Von Saurma outlines recent trends in the English-speaking areas towards independent cultural and political activity. These trends form the basis of a new approach to research of his own. Marshalling an abundance of individual examples he deals in three sections with social and economic structural issues and political problems, especially the relationship between trade union movements and political parties that is typical of newly independent Caribbean states.

The essay by M. Rauls examines the Caribbean are's relationship with Africa, a topic that has assumed increasing importance both in the various national political contexts of the island states and in recent scientific analysis. It too reviews subject literature, under three headings relating to internal Caribbean problems:the continuity of African cultural traditions, the desire for racial equality and the quest for national identity. A final section goes into Cuba's relations with Africa in terms of international solidarity.

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