During the last attempt at are Caribbean map, I was wondering a few of the same things regarding the importance of some countries. For instance as noted,
Arizona - Far from the Caribbean.
Baja California - Same
The West side of Mexico
The West side of Central America
Parts of South America, far from the Caribean
One idea is that you could combine countries, Peten and Guatamala, Honduras and El Salvador, etc. Making it so there aren't countries that are just on the pacific...considering a pacific only touching country would make much sense on a Caribbean map, at least my logic.
The problem though is, if this is done, harder to get the number of countries needed. Essentially you get rid of a 1/3 or so of the countries, which makes it perhaps difficult to find replacement areas.
Maybe the best idea, is look into creating a 'closer look' of the Caribbean. Where you only see the East side of Mexico, Florida, perhaps a few of the other gulf states, and even less of South America.
Just some thoughts and ideas.