The economic power of the United States can be seen as the influence exercised over other nations through organizations like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization. The political power can be seen in the system of Cold War alliances and client regimes nurtured since World War II and in the use and manipulation of the United Nations, NATO, and other multinational organizations for political and economic ends. The military power can be seen in frequent military interventions and wars abroad including more than 200 overseas military operations between the end of World War II and the invasion of Iraq, the maintenance of the world’s most lethal nuclear and nonnuclear armed forces (with funding equaling that of all the other nations in the world combined), the deployment of military advisers and arms transfers to other nations, public displays of military force, and numerous CIA-orchestrated coups and other covert and paramilitary activities to intervene in the domestic affairs of other nations.
– pg. 46, ISLAND OF SHAME: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia, by David Vine, Princeton University Press, 2009
Mr. Bill Lindo is an economist and businessman who co-hosts on Sunday mornings news-related discussions which are simulcast on KREM Radio and KREM Television. From time to time, he writes a column for Amandala, mostly on financial and political matters.
Mr. Lindo was an officer of the UBAD Party in early 1973 when the organization split in two. At that point, he joined the ruling People’s United Party (PUP), where he has remained active for the last 46 years. In fact, he was recently added to the national executive of the now Opposition PUP, after being removed from same in late 2011.
With respect to Belize’s economic challenges and the growing problems connected with the increasingly aggressive Guatemalan claim to Belize, Mr. Lindo has been suggesting that Belize’s leaders seek a closer relationship with the countries which are referred to as BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
This newspaper hereby registers its disagreement with such a suggestion, for the reason that Belize is firmly within the geopolitical orbit of the superpower United States, which is where most of our diaspora population live and work. In addition, the two most powerful members of BRICS – Russia and China, are atheistic politico–economic systems, and the vast majority of Belizeans publicly profess Christian religious beliefs, even though the country often behaves as if it is a pagan realm.
In his strategic thinking, Mr. Lindo has obviously taken into serious account the fact that Belize’s most dangerous antagonist, Guatemala, is the United States’ most important financial and military ally in Central America, and the United States has always been refusing to oppose Guatemalan positions and policies in any way. The various Guatemalan governments since the United States assisted their oligarchy in overthrowing the reformist Jacobo Arbenz presidency in 1954, have always had powerful, influential lobbies in Washington, D.C., the political capital of the United States.
Washington, D.C., is where all the elected Congressmen, Senators, and other political leaders of the fifty states of the United States gather in various sessions and settings to carry out the business of the American people. Belize, however, has the ability to neutralize a certain amount of the clout the Guatemala lobby enjoys in Washington by going directly to the American people. The major cities of the United States have significant Belizean populations who can dramatize Belize’s predicament in the newspapers and magazines and on the radio and television stations of the big American cities. Off the top, we can point to New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, New Orleans, Miami, and Atlanta as cities with important Belizean populations who can publicize incidents of sinister Guatemalan aggression and make the case for Belize.
New York City, specifically, is the media capital of the United States. It is also the city where working sessions of the influential world political body, the United Nations, are held. During the 1960s, New York City was home base for a Belizean organization called the British Honduras Freedom Committee. The chairman of that organization, Compton Fairweather (who now lives in Belize), has said that it was the legendary Samuel Haynes who founded the group. The Freedom Committee operated a radio telephone system in Brooklyn to provide news about Belize for interested diaspora Belizeans. If you dialed a certain number, you could listen to a taped compilation of Belize news. This was a critical service in the 1960s when the government radio station in Belize was a monopoly and was censored in various ways. Perhaps even more important, the Freedom Committee raised significant amounts of U.S. dollars which were made available as campaign funding for Hon. Philip Goldson’s Opposition National Independence Party (NIP).
In 1968, however, the United States government made it clear, by way of attorney Bethuel Webster’s Seventeen Proposals, that their preferred solution to the dispute between the United Kingdom and Guatemala called for Belize’s status to be that of a satellite state to Guatemala. In retrospect, it may have been at that point that some Freedom Committee leaders realized that Mr. Goldson’s position was in conflict with Washington’s policies. Within a year after the Seventeen Proposals there was an unsuccessful attempt to replace Mr. Goldson as NIP Leader, and after that a process of undermining him began which culminated with his replacement as recognized Opposition Leader in 1973, with the establishment of the United Democratic Party (UDP).
New York City has itself been replaced as the most energetic and nationalistic Belizean/American city by Los Angeles, but New York City, because it is America’s media capital, remains extremely important where any diaspora Belizean attempt to expose and condemn Guatemalan aggression is concerned. Since February of 2015 when a series of noteworthy incidents of Guatemalan aggression against Belize began, however, the silence coming from New York Belizeans has been deafening and disappointing.
Between 1964 and 1971, the United States was able to get away with violating the human rights of 2,000 black Chagossians and displacing them from the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, because American officials successfully conspired to keep that sad story out of the American media. There were no Chagossians living in the United States. The situation is different with us: we Belizeans live inside the belly of the American media beast. If Belizeans became organized and strategic enough, we could make our story known to the American people. The United States, whatever its faults, represents an open, democratic system. If we can inform and educate the American people about the real nature of Guatemalan aggression, they will support us. Access to the American media is there. It is up to the Belizean diaspora to take advantage of that access.
Power to the people. Remember Danny Conorquie. Honor Staff Sgt. Richard Lambey. Big up, Wil Maheia! Salute SATIIM!