Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Diplomatic disses

US Secretary of State, Condolezza Rice, swearing in Mary Ourisman in Oct. 2006

Did anybody see the journalistic smackdown CMC reporter Johnson John-Rose put on the US Ambassador Mary Ourisman? I almost felt sorry for the poor woman. Bear in mind the Ambassador had last year warned Caribbean countries to be "careful of the friends you keep", referrring to the region's relations with Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. She later said she regretted that remark. I don't really hold that one against her, 'cause there's something about Chavez that always rubs me the wrong way.

Well this week she was going on about Cuba and the US' decision not to trade with that country, though she said regional governments were free to decide their level of cooperation with Cuba.

"We don’t have diplomatic or trade relations with Cuba at this time … You are free to have relations with Cuba. Cuba can have relations with anyone they want and it is their right, but America is free not to trade with Cuba if they chose not to," she told CMC.

Then John-Rose dropped it: what about China? The US seemed perfectly happy to trade with them and they were also not the most democratic of states. Well, poor Ourisman stuttered and blustered and couldn't get out of that conversation fast enough. I couldn't believe she hadn't been prepped for that question. She must have heard the media in the Caribbean was soft. Must be because we let our politicians get away with so much foolishness...

But what a year it's been for diplomatic snafus in the region! And is it a coincidence that almost all of them involve China? I'm sensing a theme here. Grenada played Taiwan's anthem instead of China's at an event; St. Lucia dumps China in favour of relations with Taiwan, it goes on and on. These politicians in the region need to watch 24; the Chinese don't play...

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