Central America and the Caribbean

Culture, history and a dramatic political legacy, these are what characterise Central America and the Caribbean. These are lands that have been defined by their ancient civilisations, colonial heritage and the rich mix of culture that has created the modern state. In Central America some of the world’s most ancient and progressive civilisations existed. The Aztecs, the Mayans and the Olmecs created vast cities, monuments and technology superior to much that was achieved in the rest of the world.

Much of this was lost through the great upheaval caused by European discovery of the region and their subsequent conquest of the people, territory and resources in Central America and the Caribbean. With the Europeans came political domination, slavery, colonialism and war but it also create a unique ethnic and cultural mix that has defined the development of the modern Central American and Caribbean states ever since.

With the collapse of Spanish, French and British rule the region has been the staging point for both great revolutions and bitter conflict. National movements of independence were followed by civil war and armed guerilla resistance and insurgency and conflict caused by drug cartels. However, through this all the region has continued to grow and develop, both economically and culturally.

The Caribbean has now become one of the world’s most influential cultural powers and through the intoxicating mix of drama, beauty and passion both Central America and the Caribbean have creates an intricate modern political environment which still lies much understudied and misunderstood.

“Visual surprise is natural in the Caribbean; it comes with the landscape, and faced with its beauty, the sigh of history dissolves”.

Derek Walcott, (1930-Present) St Lucian Poet and Playwright

Central America and the Caribbean
Janzoon Blaeu, Willem, Insulae Americanae in Oceano Septentrionali, (c.1740)

The World of Sicario – Part 2

The World of Sicario – Part 2

In the hit movie, Sicario, the world of Mexican drug cartels is brought into sharp and brutal focus. Moving across the Mexico-US border between El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico the viewer sees the violence of the cartels, the poverty of those trapped in this violent cycle and the complex geopolitics at work in the region. The world of Sicario is Mexico at its worst, but how close does it come to the reality? Continue Reading

The World of Sicario – Part 1

The World of Sicario – Part 1

In the hit movie, Sicario, the world of Mexican drug cartels is brought into sharp and brutal focus. Moving across the Mexico-US border between El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico the viewer sees the violence of the cartels, the poverty of those trapped in this violent cycle and the complex geopolitics at work in the region. The world of Sicario is Mexico at its worst, but how close does it come to the reality? Continue Reading

Is the Cold War Finally Ending?

Is the Cold War Finally Ending?

In the normalisation of diplomatic relations between the USA and Cuba there is a glimmer of hope that one of the greatest political divisions of the 20th century could be coming to an end and, with it, the end of the Cold War creeps ever closer. For many the Cold War ended in 1989 with the collapse of the Berlin Wall or 1992 with the disintegration of the USSR, but in reality many of the conditions established during that time have continued to define the modern day political relations, most notably the US-Cuban relationship. Continue Reading

Beyond the Hotel – Trinidad, Paradise and Politics

Beyond the Hotel – Trinidad, Paradise and Politics

behind the ‘paradise’ exterior of Trinidad there is a violent undercurrent of fundamental politics. Nationalism, fundamental Islam, socialism and crime combine in parts of the Caribbean to create a nation that diverges greatly from our perceived notion of these islands. Ultimately the beaches and hotels only part describe the Caribbean and the reality is that the politics of this region reveal the Caribbean, if only we can go beyond the hotel. Continue Reading

About Peter Banham

Peter earned his MA in Geopolitics, Territory & Security at Kings College London in 2015, following a BA in History and International Relations from Lancaster University. He has been the editor and a major contributor to A Little View of the World since 2012 where he has written on global affairs, international relations, development and world conflicts.