The United States of America has from time to time tried to exert its influence on smaller countries by using its economic or political power. America has never been shy about twisting the arm of economically weaker countries when they attempt to make independent decisions in their own national interest and force them to align themselves with American interests in various geopolitical issues. The United States considering these small countries as a vassal state is not new and something similar happened this time in the Caribbean region.
Trinidad and Tobago is facing U.S. sanctions over a controversial shipment of fuel from Trinidad’s Paria fuel trading company in Aruba, which was later sent to Venezuela. The political heat between the two countries had intensified after Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez visited Trinidad and Tobago on March 27, 2020.
Indeed, the current government of Venezuela led by President Nicolas Maduro has been deemed illegal and corrupt by the United States. On the other hand, the United States recognizes Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the legitimate president of the country. In addition, the United States has also accused Maduro and other senior government officials of “narco-terrorism” and imposed sanctions on the Venezuelan oil industry, as reported by the Caribbean World News.
It should be noted here that oil and natural gas contribute substantially to the economy of the country. Oil production, refining, and LNG production are the main industries in Trinidad and Tobago.
US leaders, however, have warned other nations against assisting beleaguered Venezuelan President Maduro and his regime. Trinidad and Tobago depends heavily on the United States for its economic survival and should in turn follow American dictates. Going against US sanctions against Venezuela essentially means attracting US sanctions for Trinidad and Tobago itself.
According to the report on Caribbean World News The United States is currently investigating Trinidad and Tobago’s possible violation of U.S. sanctions against Venezuela and if it is found to have assisted Venezuela in obtaining fuel, Trinidad and Tobago (TT) may also be subject to US sanctions.
This jeopardizes the economic security of Trinidad and Tobago as the country is heavily dependent on the United States. In fact, seventy percent of all food in TT is imported from the United States at an annual cost of over US$1 billion (TT$7 billion). Any US sanctions can therefore profoundly affect its food supply and lead to an aggravation of the food crisis. In addition, US sanctions may also have a negative effect on TT’s already strained revenue stream, as it exports more than US$2.7 billion (TT$18.9 billion) annually to the United States. in the energy sector.
Thus, the imminent threat of US sanctions puts the Caribbean nation in a very precarious position.
It is high time that Trinidad and Tobago realizes that too much dependence on the United States is suicidal and that it must come out of it in the near future to avoid being harassed by the United States or being cornered by its attitude. condescending. It is time for Trinidad and Tobago to effectively assert its identity while simultaneously reducing dependence on the United States for its own survival. The United States cannot forever dictate terms to economically weaker countries in the name of aid and assistance. Trinidad and Tobago will soon have to forge new ties with other powers to reduce its dependence on the United States.