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Antigua and Barbuda: Foreign Relations
Country Study > Chapter 6 > Foreign Relations

FOREIGN RELATIONS


Strong economic and political bonds largely determined the country's foreign relations in the late 1980s. Antigua and Barbuda's primary diplomatic relations were with other Caribbean countries, the United States, Britain, and Canada; embassies were maintained in each of these countries. In other countries with which Antigua and Barbuda had diplomatic relations, no Antiguan and Barbudan ambassador was in residence, but ambassadors residing in the aforementioned countries were accredited to them as well. Firmly anticommunist, Antigua and Barbuda in 1987 was considered to be one of the most ardent supporters of the United States in the Caribbean area. Various forms of United States aid were important to Antigua and Barbuda, as was North American tourism. Of importance to the United States was the fact that Antigua occupied a strategic position and hosted a United States military presence, including air force and naval facilities. After Antigua and Barbuda gained independence, the United States consulate that had been established in 1980 was upgraded to an embassy in 1982, with a staff of eighteen.

Despite Antigua and Barbuda's bonds with both the United States and Britain, relations were tense in late 1986 as the ALP government formed the impression that the United States and Britain might favor the UNDP in the upcoming 1989 election. Realizing that the Western powers might regard Deputy Prime Minister Lester Bird, the presumed successor to his father, as too leftist, the ALP leadership accused the United States and Britain of courting Heath and promoting his party in the next elections in the hope that the UNDP would institute a more conservative government. When Heath received an official invitation to visit London, the Herald, the newspaper generally regarded as affiliated with Deputy Prime Minister Bird and his supporters, cited this as evidence of Britain's support of the UNDP candidate and described as inappropriate a diplomatic meeting with the leader of a party with no elected seats in the Antiguan Parliament. The Workers' Voice, the ATLU-supported newspaper, joined in accusing the United States of interfering in Antigua and Barbuda's internal affairs.

For his part, Deputy Prime Minister Bird criticized United States policy in the region as not sharing the national priorities held by governments in the Caribbean region. Bird also expressed reservations about the pervasive presence of United States advisers in the region, increased arms shipments from the United States to the Caribbean, and the establishment of paramilitary Special Service Units (SSUs). Although some in his party feared a leftward turn should he gain power, Lester Bird and those with similar nationalistic views remained strongly anticommunist.

Antigua and Barbuda was a member of, among other international organizations, the Commonwealth of Nations.

Data as of November 1987




Last Updated: November 1987


Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Antigua and Barbuda was first published in 1987. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on Factba.se.

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