When most people think of the Caribbean, they think of beaches, good music and vacations. The Caribbean is generally a politically stable region and the various types of governments result from the specific histories of each island.
Grenada is a constitutional monarchy -- the recognized head of state is Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain. Grenada was once a British colony and became independent in 1974. The queen is represented by a governor general. However, Grenada’s internal affairs are run by the prime minister and a cabinet that is appointed by the governor general. A senate, with 13 seats, also plays a role in government. Members of the Senate are appointed by the government while the House of Representatives, which has 15 seats, is elected by the people.
The Commonwealth of Dominica was the last Caribbean island to be colonized by Europeans. It gained independence from Great Britain in 1978 and was also the first Caribbean nation to be run by a woman. Since then, the country has maintained a parliamentary democracy that consists of a president, a prime minister, a cabinet and a house of assembly. The president has few powers; the prime minister wields the most power. The cabinet is appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister. Members of the 30-seat house of assembly are voted into office by the public.
With the Bahamas to the north and Jamaica to the south, Cuba is the Caribbean’s only communist state. The country adopted communism in 1959 when Fidel Castro led his opposition troops into the capital, Havana. Since then, the country has rejected capitalism and instead adopted socialist policies. The country’s government is led by the president. Cuba has two vice presidents and a council of ministers. The country’s legislative branch is the National Assembly of People’s Power, which consists of 614 seats.
Once ruled by the Spanish, Puerto Rico became an American territory after the Spanish-American war. The island’s citizens have American citizenship, but it is not an American state. Instead, it is a semi-independent territory, and its day-to-day administration is managed by a governor. The governor is assisted by a cabinet that he selects. Puerto Rico also has a senate, a house of representatives and a resident commissioner. She is elected by the public to represent Puerto Ricans as a non-voting member of the U.S. House of Representatives.