President Obama is on an official visit in Jamaica and took time on Wednesday to pay his tribute to the legendary Jamaican musician Bob Marley. But Mr. Obama’s trip is less about enjoying reggae music and more about making sure the United States keep their supremacy in the Caribbean.
Barack Obama is the first acting US president to visit Jamaica since 1982. The president and his energy secretary Ernest Moniz are in Jamaica’s capital, Kingston, for a round of meetings scheduled on Thursday concerned on trade and energy sources for the Caribbean nations.
But until Thursday, Obama took the opportunity to visit the home of the reggae artist whose music marked a generation. Bob Marley’s former residence has now been converted into a museum bearing his name. Shortly after arriving in Jamaica, the president took some of his aides with him and paid a visit to the Bob Marley Museum.
President Obama, along with national security advisor Susan Rice, toured the museum whose walls where decorated with Marley’s records and painted in red, green and yellow, befitting a reggae legend. The president even claimed he still keeps some of the records home. “I still have all the albums,” Obama was heard saying.
The Jamaicans are holding high hopes about the purpose behind the US President visiting their country. Jamaica is going through a serious fiscal crisis, and many officials and regular citizens alike hope Obama will present their country with an alternative to the Venezuelan oil. And indeed, the Thursday meetings will address such issues.
Besides showing his love for Bob Marley’s music, President Obama had another reason behind his trip to Kingston. Several Caribbean nations will hold talks in Jamaica’s capital regarding alternative energy sources. The United States hope to convince the smaller nations that Washington can be a supplier of such alternatives, and the Caribbean region is no longer dependent on oil imported from Venezuela.
The time is good for the United States to reassert their supremacy over the region, as well as bringing former enemies closer. US high-rank officials will surely meet with Cuba’s president Raul Castro, who showed promise of normalizing relations between the two nations.
If not in Kingston, there will be surely time for such talks in Panama City, where the Summit of the Americas opens on Friday. The United States showed willingness to cooperate with all Central and South American nations on finding alternative energy solution. The move is likely to hurt Venezuela, whose struggling economy is largely dependent on oil exports.
The United States have recently tried to soften Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro fierce opposition towards Washington, and the Panama City congress could prove the perfect opportunity for a détente.
Image Source: Mnialive