Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


International Relations

First Advisor's Name

Eduardo Gamarra

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Paul Kowert

Third Advisor's Name

Astrid Arrarás

Fourth Advisor's Name

Benjamin Smith


Drug Policy, Nationalism, Caribbean

Date of Defense



This dissertation examined the effect of United States counter-drug policy on nationalism in small states, focusing on Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. The states were selected for their roles and geostrategic importance in the illegal drug trade; Jamaica being the largest drug producing country in the Anglophone Caribbean and having strong links to the trade of Colombian cocaine, and Trinidad being a mere seven miles from the South American coast.

Since U.S. counterdrug policies have frequently been viewed in the region as imperialistic, this dovetails into ideas on the perceptions of smallness and powerlessness of Caribbean nations. Hence, U.S. drug policies affect every vulnerability faced by the Caribbean, individually and collectively. Thus, U.S. drug policy was deemed the most appropriate independent variable, with nationalism as the dependent variable.

In both countries four Focus Groups and one Delphi Study were conducted resulting in a total of 60 participants. Focus Group participants, recruited from the general population, were asked about their perception of the illegal drug trade in the country and the policies their government had created. They were also asked their perception on how deeply involved the U.S. was in the creation of these policies and their opinions on whether this involvement was positive or negative. The Delphi Study participants were experts in the field of local drug policies and also gave their interpretations of the role the U.S. played in local policy creation. Coupled with this data, content analysis was conducted on various newspaper articles, press releases, and speeches made regarding the topic.

In comparing both countries, it was found that there is a disconnect between government actions and the knowledge and perceptions of the general public. In Trinidad and Tobago this disconnect was more apparent given the lack of awareness of local drug policies and the utter lack of faith in government solutions. The emerging conclusion was that the impact of U.S. drug policy on nationalism was more visible in Trinidad and Tobago where there was a weaker civil society-government relationship, while the impact on nationalism was more obscure in Jamaica, which had a stronger civil-society government relationship.





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