A society’s culture is influenced and shaped by the way of life of different ethic groups. This is done by passing of codes, dress, language, religion, rituals, art, norms and belief systems from generation to generation. Caribbean culture, as we know, is rooted in its colonial history whereby we have adopted the way of life of our colonizers. Hence, we have various languages, religions, music, festivals and delicacies. Many of them are symbolic in nature and as such include and separate us from our Caribbean neighbours. What is common among us, however, is the adaptation of our plantation economy which still places us in precarious positions regionally and internationally as countries are rated and or represented across the globe according to their economic, military and political powers.
When we hear the term globalization many things may come to mind. Some of them maybe a spherical or rounded object, many different continents, states or countries, various national, regional or international conglomerates or the word can evoke a sense of fare or xenophobia. Whatever comes to mind will be as a result of our educational, cultural or social exposure. Globalization therefore should not be limited to its tangible aspect as our lives are shaped by how our heterogeneities are being transcended. The world has become very cosmopolitan, as many pluralists societies have been formed. As we know, people have and will continue to travel in search of better opportunities and in so doing will encounter and share many experiences.
One must not forget the impact of the internet. Whether we are cognizant of this fact, cultural globalization occurs through virtual dissemination, cuisine, news, music, mass media, travel and popular culture. Examples are seen in our everyday lives when we surf the net in search of information, fashion and make purchases. Even toddlers have been introduced to various nursery rhymes via YouTube. These are but a few examples of how can culture and be impacted by globalization.
In addition to what was explained above, cultural globalization is a process whereby the flow, networks and interconnection of people, processes, communication and technology are interlinked. Part of the process of cultural globalization therefore includes the sharing of customs, values, religion, politics and norms.
Although it can be argued that cultural globalization has been prevalent since colonization, its advances in technology or its impact , the Caribbean is still vulnerable to this shock due to their size, economies, opportunities and threats. For example, the most recent occurrence of the political crisis in Venezuela in which reports of economic mismanagement, repression and corruption and legitimacy of their elections last year resulted in a split among international and regional communities. Countries in the European Union have called for fresh elections to determine who should be President. Whereas, countries in support of Nicolás Maduro (China, Iran, Russia, Turkey, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Cuba) and those in support of Juan Guaido as President (Latin America). The invitation by the President of the United States of America of Jamaica, The Bahamas, Haiti, Dominican Republic and St. Lucia to discuss this issue along with their vote at the Origination of America State (OAS) in recognition of Guido as President has widened the fraction among members of the Caribbean Community. Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Suriname voted against the resolution whereas St. Kitts-Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados and Belize abstained. Grenada was not present.
A percussive view of the Venezuelan issue may be limited to the macro level. However, politics is the bedrock to our lives as it impacts our socialization, economic and historical practices. The situation in Venezuela has resulted in financial, hyperinflation and food shortages and over 3 million people leaving the country. As explained in the introduction about what culture is and the linkages of globalization, one can imagine the impact of this situation. There are hosts of questions also to be asked because of the actors, agencies and forces involved. What has resulted in the formation of allies or the decision of some countries to be neutral, what role is the media playing and whose agenda is being fulfilled? As we know, Venezuela is rich in oil and has lent support to many Caribbean economies under Maduro’s Petro-Caribe Agreement. What foreign relations have been fractured by Maduro’s regime and what is the intentions of fostering new relations with Guaido?
With or without globalization, culture will always be adjusting as generations are shaped by their experiences. Globalization has only offered various degrees of how we in the Caribbean live our realities.