President Obama is in Jamaica Thursday, meeting with Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and more than a dozen other leaders from throughout the Caribbean. It’s the first stop on a three-day tour that also includes a hemispheric summit meeting in Panama. Topping today’s agenda is a looming energy crunch in the Caribbean, and a chance for the U.S. to seize the initiative there from leftist leaders in Venezuela.
Unlike the United States, which is suddenly awash in cheap oil and natural gas, countries like Jamaica and the Dominican Republic are heavily dependent on imported oil, not only to run their cars but also to keep the lights on.
“The economic achilles heel for these small islands is really electric power generation,” says Jorge Pinon, who directs the Latin America and Caribbean Program at the University of Texas. “That’s very important for their tourism and for hotels. So affordable and reliable electricity has a very high economic value for those small islands.”
NPR, April 9, 2015
Featuring: Jorge Piñon, Director, Latin America and Caribbean Energy Program, Jackson School of Geosciences