Handbook on the Politics of Small States
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Handbook on the Politics of Small States

Edited by Godfrey Baldacchino and Anders Wivel

Comprehensive and timely, this Handbook identifies the key characteristics, challenges and opportunities involved in the politics of small states across the globe today. Acknowledging the historical legacies behind these states, the chapters unpack the costs and benefits of different political models for small states.
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Chapter 17: Island versus region: the politics of small states in the Caribbean

Godfrey Baldacchino

Abstract

The Caribbean comprises thirteen island and archipelagic states. Former imperial possessions of France, Spain and the United Kingdom, these states must navigate a political economy dominated by the United States (and its embargo of Cuba), but also influenced by Venezuela and China. The imperative to work together and develop multiple of selective cooperation is confronted by the temptation to advance a pseudo-ethnic island nationalism, which lies at the power base of politicians in the region. The chapter reflects upon the epistemological salience of small size that governs the Caribbean mind-set in its dealings with the region and the world. It also offers insights into how democracy is practised ‘on the ground’ in small, democratic jurisdictions.

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