Decolonising the Caribbean: Dutch Policies in a Comparative by Gert Oostindie, Inge Klinkers

By Gert Oostindie, Inge Klinkers

Oostindie and Klinkers upload intensity to the examine of post-World conflict II Caribbean decolonization with their comparative research of the previous Dutch colonies of Surinam, the Netherlands Antilles, and Aruba. Their certain research of Dutch decolonization rules of the Forties disguise such concerns because the political approaches of decolonization, improvement relief, the Dutch Caribbean exodus to the city, and cultural antagonisms. placing those matters inside of a bigger context, the authors skillfully distinction the decolonization strategy of Dutch Caribbean states with the present guidelines pursued within the non-sovereign Caribbean through France, the Netherlands, the uk, and the USA.

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2. The Comparative Context: The French départements d’outre-mer, Grandeur and Civilisation at a Price French attitude toward empire fundamentally differed from that of the British, who generally liked to keep their colonies at arm’s length while gradually reducing their overseas spheres of influence by decentralising power and handing out the trump card of self-government – and eventually sovereignty – within the Commonwealth. France, in contrast, would not attempt to rid itself of its important strategic legacy.

21 Under the new status Puerto Rico became autonomous in its internal affairs; a ‘locally self-governing unincorporated territory under Congressional jurisdiction’. The Puerto Ricans maintained their American citizenship, free trade with the continent, and exemption from all federal taxes. ’22 In 1953 the meaning of the new relationship was discussed in a lengthy debate within the United Nations. Critics questioned whether Puerto Rico was indeed autonomous as it remained subordinate to military legislation and its defence lay in American hands.

Yet these ‘representative’ institutions were only of an advisory nature, while the elective system was primarily aimed at protecting the interests of white minority groups, and all legislative competences remained firmly within French parliament. With national legislation extending overseas by decree, gradually the administrative structure of the tropical colonies became moulded on the highly centralised French state. Concurrently the French protectionist system would serve to heighten economic dependency: as of 1892 a one-tariff union was formed with the French Caribbean, permitting free access to the French market while subjecting foreign imports to high tariffs.

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