A Struggling Economy: Jamaica and U.S. Relations Essay

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A Struggling Economy: Jamaica and U.S. Relations

Introduction:

In “Jamaica : a guide to the people, politics, and culture” Marcel Bayer asserts that almost every country in the Caribbean since colonialism has been affected, in one way or another, by the rule of the United States. According to Bayer, the United States’ influence on the Caribbean has been perpetuated by four American interests: 1) the encouragement of trade, 2) the protection of U.S. investments, 3)the formation of alliances to prevent intervention and 4) the promotion of regional support for U.S. international goals (Bayer, 39). In alignment with Bayer’s statement, many historians, politicians and economists alike have traced the history of the United States in the
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Brief Overview of Jamaican:

History of Colonization/Independence

Jamaica is an island in the Caribbean Sea that is located just south of Cuba. Today there are over 2,695,867 people living in Jamaica. (CIA Report, 1) According to the CIA’s national report, the Jamaican population consists of 90.9% blacks, 1.3% East Indians, 0.2% whites, 0.2% Chinese, 7.3% of mixed ancestry and 0.1% other (CIA, 3). Like most third world countries, the history of Jamaica has been characterized by many shifts in power. For instance, in 1958 the Arawaks were eradicated, in 1670 the Spanish were defeated by the English and the English slave-traders dominated the Jamaican market until the Maroon takeover in 1831. (Bayer, 7-13) Consequently, overtime Jamaica has changed from being a plantocracy to being a crown colony to finally becoming a “constitutional parliamentary democracy” (CIA, 2).

Political Trends

After Jamaica gained independence from Britain in 1962, two individuals, Norman Manley and Alexander Bustamente, sought to establish a framework to sustain the economic and social development of their country. Although N. Manley and Bustamente initially had similar political intentions, their separate goals eventually led to the emergence of two opposing political parties in Jamaica - The People’s National Party (PNP) and the Jamaican Labor Party (JLP). The PNP was established under Norman Manley and was later taken over by his son, Michael Manley. In…