The ongoing crisis in the Ukraine presents strategic lessons for Belize which should guide our response to the “eastward drift” by Guatemala.
The Ukraine has for the last couple of years been a covert battlefield for the so-called West as they try to penetrate Russia’s sphere of influence. Under the guise of democracy, the West supported, if not orchestrated, the overthrow of a democratically-elected government solely because that government was, in their view, eastward leaning. It is safe to say that the West, in their zeal to topple Yanukovych, severely miscalculated the likely Russian response.
Western leaders have been quick to draw similarities between Russia’s Crimean experiment and Germany’s invasion of Poland. There are significant differences, of course, but this is not the focus of my treatise.
The Crimean conundrum is rooted in the large Russophone population in the Ukraine—about 17%. Ukrainians of Russian descent never fully assimilated into the overall national body politic; thus, they remained oriented toward Russia. When the West inspired the overthrow of the duly elected government of the Ukraine, Russia took immediate measures to maintain its sphere of influence. The pretext was that the “new” Ukraine was Westward leaning and thus posed a serious threat to Ukrainians of Russian descent.
Russia therefore had no choice but to intervene in Crimea in order to protect its people. The West disputes that such threats exist, but what is done is done: strategic battle plans are now being drawn up on both sides of the Atlantic!
The first lesson for Belize must be that citizen protection has been and can always be used as a pretext for extraterritorial military action. The United States used this very pretext to invade both Grenada and Panama.
The second lesson is that when this pretext is used, it takes a great deal of time for the international community to respond diplomatically, and even longer for them to respond militarily, if at all. In any event, history tells us that such response rarely returns the status quo ante bellum (that which existed before war).
I have been raising the alarm for many years about the eastward drift by Guatemala and the risks posed thereby. Today, Guatemalans make up 6.03% of the Belizean population; this is more than our entire Garifuna population (4.6%).
If one examines the demographics at the district level, the extent of the silent invasion is even more alarming. Guatemalans make up 7.75% of the population of the Stann Creek District, 10.42% of the Cayo District and a whopping 11.4% of the Toledo District.
In addition to those captured by the 2010 census, there are hundreds more in the Chiquibul, wreaking havoc on our natural resources and trampling our sovereignty in the process.
I will venture to say that many of the Guatemalans in Belize have not assimilated into our body politic. They are still oriented toward Guatemala and no amount of “papeles” will change that (not when they continue to learn in school that “Belice es nuestro”). To many Guatemalans, they have simply moved from one department to another. Perhaps this is the danger that Section 29(3) of the Belize Constitution was designed to avoid.
Sadly, ever since independence, the evil ones amongst us who lust for political power have repeatedly violated the Constitution by giving citizenship to Guatemalans in exchange for votes.
Soon the OAS, in collusion with our very own Foreign Minister, will attempt to force a referendum upon us. Such a referendum will place Belize in a bind. If the Guatemalans are allowed to vote, we risk a 6-point swing in favour of the ICJ giveaway. If we disallow them the right to vote, we may be accused by Guatemala of mistreating their people, thus giving the oligarchs sufficient pretext to come in and “protect” their people à la Crimea.
I have said enough.
Major Lloyd Jones