Last Thursday, the State Department released the minutes of the recent Caribbean-United States Security Cooperation Dialogue (SCD) held in Washington D.C.
In addition to administration officials and other American national security representatives, the conference was attended by diplomatic, military, and law enforcement personnel from several Caribbean States including Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The key issues of concern brought up at the meeting included the increasingly serious issues of weapons-smuggling through the region and the tracking of illicit funds and human-trafficking. The challenge of eradicating bases of operations of global terror groups entrenched in Caribbean countries was also discussed at length.
But beyond any specific point addressed during the SCD, there is much broader strategic importance to security coordination in the Caribbean at this time.
Security cooperation between the United States and the Caribbean nations is nothing new. This effort goes back decades and was formalized back in 2009 with the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI). Today, the Caribbean Community Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (CARICOM) is a pretty substantial regional operation, with communication hubs and intelligence fusion centers located through the Central American region.
The reason CARICOM is receieving a bit more attention these days is due to the shifting security concerns the U.S. has had to deal with as of late. The setting up shop of Middle Eastern terror groups in South and Central America, both for recruitment and business purposes, forced America’s focus to its own backyard. The fact that South America has become a focal point for world powers over the past year due to the Venezuela crisis has also been a major factor in increasing Caribbean-United States security cooperation.