Latin America ministers to size up Haig
The Mexican and Venezuelan foreign ministers who meet in The Bahamas July 11 with Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr. will be carefully sizing up General Haig while they attempt to draft an aid plan for the Caribbean.
It is unclear if anything substantial will emerge as far as the Caribbean program goes. Caribbean specialists complain that very little homework has gone into preparing for the session, in which Canadian External Affairs Minister Mark MacGuigan also will participate.
In any event, the session may prove difficult for Mr. Haig. Neither Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castaneda de la Rosa nor his Venezuelan counterpart, Jose Alberto Zambrano Velasco, has developed any warmth toward the US secretary of state. Indeed, close advisers of both are known to have reservations about the former Army general.
"This trip will give us that opportunity," said a Mexican Foreign Ministry spokesman. His words were echoed by a Venezuelan official: "The main point of the trip for us is to meet Haig."
Both Mexico and Venezuela are concerned about recent statements on Cuba coming out of Washington. While they generally favor the concept of a US-Mexico-Venezuela economic assistance program in the Caribbean, they worry that the Reagan Administration is pushing the idea simply as a means of curbing Cuban influence in the area.
Many Venezuelans, for example, were greatly displeased with comments on Cuban subversion in the Caribbean made by Thomas O. Enders, assistant secretary of state for Inter-American affairs. They say his remarks in Caracas last month suggested Cuba was responsible for most Caribbean problems.
Ted Cordova-Claure, foreign editor of El Nacional, objected to Mr. Enders's "especially rabid language" against Cuba.
Mr. Cordova-Claure also noted that the very day that Mr. Enders was talking of Cuban subversion, Jamaican Prime Minister Edward Seaga, no friend of Cuban President Fidel Castro, said there was no evidence of Cuban subversion in Jamaica.
Transcripts of the Enders's remarks show he indicated the US would not put up with Cuban subversion in the Caribbean. A reading of his remarks, however, suggests that Mr. Enders was careful to stress the US does not maintain "that all conflicts in the area are provoked only from abroad -- but that they have been prolonged and made more serious by Marxist intervention."
Moreover, the Seaga comment dealt with Jamaica today, some eight months after he expelled the Cuban ambassador. It is also noted that Mr. Seaga talked extensively about Cuban subversion on Jamaica during his successful campaign for the prime ministership late last year.
To some Caracas observers, the incident illustrated the readiness of many Venezuelans to criticize the United States. These observers note, however, that the critics in this instance are close to key foreign policy off icials of the Venezuelan government.