“Nothing important can come from the South. The axis of history starts in Moscow, goes to Bonn, crosses over to Washington, and then goes to Tokyo. What happens in the South is of no importance.”
– Henry Kissinger, 1969, pg. 4, THE POORER NATIONS, Vijay Prashad, Verso, 2012
“What went by the name of neoliberalism was less a coherent economic doctrine than a fairly straightforward campaign by the propertied classes to maintain or restore their position of dominance. Pressure mounted on the propertied from two fronts; first, industrial productivity in the North underwent a gradual slowdown; second, trade union struggles in Europe and the United States, as well as the push for the New International Economic Order (NIEO), raised the costs of labor. The propertied reassessed their situation. Their riches needed to be preserved. The fine arts of the dollar-Wall Street complex enabled them to hoard their wealth. Financial markets, once prevented from playing an active role in the international monetary system, came to be equal partners with the Atlantic state governments. Private financial institutions operated hand-in-glove with central banks and treasury departments to ensure the ‘soundness’ of money against the social demands of the population. The idea of ‘sound money’ provided the necessary economic cover for the political thrust of the dollar-Wall Street complex. It allowed bankers and politicians to hide their political choice of protecting the propertied behind a slew of technical arguments.”
– pg. 48, IBID.
“Whereas politics seeks to persuade, war – or the threat of war – aims to coerce. Military might, measured by the size of an army, along with its equipment and technical prowess, is the show-stopping stand-in for more complex ideas of power. Armed force is the blunt fact that remains when you strip away the niceties of diplomacy, cultural influence, and ‘soft power.’ And when in doubt, according to the conventional wisdom, the balance of power tilts toward the fuller arsenal. As the journalist Damon Runyon put it (in another context), ‘The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that’s how the smart money bets.’”
– pg. 108, THE END OF POWER, Moisés Naím, Basic Books, 2013
I must admit that there are times when I am shaken by the awesome, sinister nature of the forces which are engaged in attacks upon our Belizean way of life and our nationalist Belizean aspirations.
Between Thursday and Saturday there were several instances in which I was forced into pessimist mode. One of these instances did not even involve Belize. On Thursday, news broke that the Mexican government had won a preliminary vote to open up the Mexican oil industry to American and British oil companies. Essentially, what you have in Mexico presently in this oil issue is collusion between the ruling PRI and the PAN, which are the two larger and neoliberal political parties, and they are being opposed by the PRD, which is the roots party.
When the Mexican Revolution began in 1910, the republic had been ruled with an iron hand for roughly three decades by the man Porfirio Diaz. During the so-called Porfiriato, Mexico was thrown open to foreign investment, these investors including British, American, German, and French companies. In addition, cronies and predators inside the Mexican ruling classes began to grab massive amounts of land. The Mexican oil industry was dominated by the British and the Americans.
When the revolution came, it did not come from the masses of the Mexican people. The Porfiriato had given up any pretences to democracy, and the revolution began with a demand for democracy from a member of the upper classes – Francisco I. Madero. Porfirio Diaz went into exile, and Madero was elected president in 1911, but oligarchical, neoliberal forces which had been unleashed by Diaz during his regime, encouraged by the American ambassador, murdered Madero in 1913, and this was when the real revolution began. The Mexican people rose up, and roots heroes like Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata emerged.
Near the end of the thirty-year period which some historians consider the Mexican Revolution, there was a president named Lázaro Cárdenas, a man with indigenous ancestry who had begun fighting in the revolution as a young man. In 1938, the British, who were the leading foreign interests in the Mexican oil industry, were distracted by the threat from Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany, and Cárdenas seized the opportunity to nationalize Mexican oil. This oil nationalization by Cárdenas was considered a badge of Mexican nationalist honor for many decades. Any reversal of that nationalization will be seen by roots Mexicans as a reversal of the revolution itself.
I’ve read many of the solid business reasons being offered for the privatization/globalization of Mexican oil, but these are pretty much the same reasons Belize’s neoliberal economists have offered us for the privatization/globalization of our sugar industry, oil drilling in offshore areas and national parks, and support for U.S. Capital Energy over the interests of SATIIM and the Toledo Maya.
On Friday afternoon I rode downtown between the hours of 2 and 3 p.m. to do some business. It was payday, Christmas was in effect, and the traffic was chaotic and crazy. I remarked to my driver that it was exactly one year ago, during the 2012 Christmas season, that work had begun on the road which leads from the roundabout by Pallotti into the so-called Northern Highway. Since that time, between the City Council and the water company, it has become routinely chaotic and crazy to move and do business in Belize City. City drivers have experienced a full year of frustration. Exactly where are we going, and whose purpose is being served?
For months I had been hearing about a United States flag logo on some of Belize’s police vehicles, but on Saturday morning I saw such a logo for myself on a police pickup driving across Bolton Bridge. The American flag just jumped out at me and said, boo ya! If Belize does not consider it important to appear to be sovereign and independent, then what was the use of September 21, 1981?
On Saturday evening, I watched a public event in Belize City which was being broadcast on national television. A lot of things went through my mind. The Belizean saying goes, “No everyting weh good fu eat, good fu talk.” So then, I will address myself to my more serious readers. I want you to find out what caused the Cuban Revolution. If you do, then you will become more suspicious about certain things that are happening in Belize.
There was a ton of American money invested in Cuba when Fidel Castro overthrew the dictator Fulgencio Batista on New Year’s Day of 1959. A lot of that money was American Mafia money. The American Mafia historically makes money off “tastes” which official American society has ruled illegal, such as gambling, prostitution, and drugs. Cuba is just 90 miles away from the United States, and its climate is a Caribbean, tropical one. Large portions of the United States experience harsh winters every year. Cuba became a leading holiday destination for Americans. People who are on holiday tend to be more adventurous, more tempted by “fun.” In Cuba, all the “fun” was legal, and it was protected by Batista. The problem was that the masses of the Cuban people were suffering. In America, however, few knew and fewer cared.
There is a strange thing about America, and it is that you have some of the most hard-core, “straight arrow” religious people in the world living in America, at the same time that you have some of the most debauched and decadent practices in the world going on in America every day. There is religious money from America pouring into Belize, and there is debauched money from America pouring into Belize. The landscape is confusing for the young people of Belize.
At the same time that our children are under attack and have become confused, there is another type of money coming into Belize which has sought to reduce the authority of Belizean adults and exalt the rights of children. Some of the money goes so far as to declare that we parent/adults should be learning from our young children. This is madness. A young child can amuse me, but there is absolutely nothing a young child can teach me. Yet, there is money coming into Belize to pay some Belizeans nice salaries to open up air-conditioned offices and drive late model SUVs so that they can teach me to listen to children and allow them to do whatever they feel like doing. All this is taking place at the very same time that the children of Belize are watching all kinds of debauchery on open television, and no one seems able to do a damned thing about it. At some point, perhaps we will have to agree that the children can now teach us about sex. Whose frigging agenda is this?