Defining the extent of the Caribbean has long been a contentious subject. We have chosen a compromise of sorts between the Caribbean Basin definition (all islands and mainland territories bordering on the Caribbean sea) and the Antillean definition (focusing exclusively on the island archipelago). For one, the Caribbean Community, or CARICOM, itself includes Belize and Guyana, both English-speaking territories, and both of these have Amerindian descended populations that run through the Caribbean Islands. We also include Latin American territories such as Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico because of their Taino populations. Venezuelan Amerindians have long formed an integral part of the makeup of Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana, hence it seemed appropriate to include that as well. Suriname and French Guyana share many of the same Amerindian populations as Guyana and the Lesser Antilles, as well as Venezuela. Northern South America is believed to be the major source of the Caribbean Amerindian population. In modern times, with the advent of mass out migration to North America, and the foundation of Caribbean Amerindian organizations in Florida, New York and New Jersey, it seemed appropriate to include these given their Caribbean connection even though the United States may not be seen as a geographic part of the Caribbean.
To put it simply, we followed these parameters: 1) the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) region; 2) the membership of the Caribbean Organization of Indigenous People (Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, St. Vincent, Dominica, Belize); 3) the location of Taino organizations (Cuba, DR, PR, New York, New Jersey, Florida); and, 4) northern South America. The emphasis was not on constructing an ideal definition using theoretical means, but a working definition grounded in actual interactions, connections and population movements.