During the hot Philadelphia summer of 1787 Benjamin Franklin supposedly whiled away time at the Constitutional Convention by wondering if the sun painted on the back of the presiding officer's chair was rising or setting. Today similar doubts exist about America's position in the Caribbean Basin. Throughout the 20th century the U.S. sun has burned brightly there, but now that is no longer the case. Washington's influence is not what it once was. Grenada and Nicaragua have joined Cuba in mounting a challenge to the Colossus of the North from the radical left with El Salvador and Guatemala threatening to follow suit. Venezuela and especially Mexico have displayed some independent regional leadership aspirations. 1 Thus the question arises as to whether the American sun is finally setting in the Caribbean or merely experiencing a momentary partial eclipse.