Busy with their daily lives, the American people know nothing of the fact that the militaristic nation of Guatemala, which gained its independence from Spain in 1821, claims half the territory of little Belize, which gained independence from Great Britain in 1981. If it were possible to educate the American people about the nature of the differendum between Belize and Guatemala, the vast majority of the American people would support Belize. But, to repeat, the American people know nothing of Belize and Guatemala.
The political capital of the United States is Washington, D. C., where the President lives and works, and where their Congress and Senate meet and work. In Washington, there is an arguably unique institution called the “lobby.” I’ve never been to Washington, and I am not an expert on this “lobby” institution. I know, though, that Israel and Guatemala both have powerful lobbies in Washington, and their lobbyists are prestigious, influential, expensive law firms which are hired to make sure the respective interests of Israel and Guatemala are always in the forefront of the calculus of the Congressmen, Senators, and other decision-making figures in American politics.
The official foreign policy of the United States is designed by their professional politicians, the professional administrators in their business, military and intelligence departments, and the permanent advisory bodies, of which the most prominent is the State Department. These departments are, of course, bureaucracies, which means that they are sometimes victims of their own voluminous data base. It takes a while sometimes for bureaucracies to adjust to changing realities.
In a general sense, the ruling class of the United States is of British and European descent. The ruling class of Guatemala is largely of European descent – German, French, Italian, Jewish, and Spanish. In the foreign policy chambers of the United States, they consider Guatemala to be their most important and loyal ally in Central America.
In 1823, the United States, which had declared its independence from Great Britain in 1776, formulated and announced a so-called Monroe Doctrine, which essentially declared the Western Hemisphere to be an American sphere of influence. European powers henceforth were not supposed to enter and interact in the Western Hemisphere without the understanding that the United States wielded a kind of hegemonic authority in the region. Established, longstanding realities such as that of the British colonial territories in the Caribbean, including British Honduras. were given a pass, so to speak.
In February of 1945, when the leaders of the victorious Allied nations met at Yalta to decide how the world would be landscaped after they finished off Germany and Japan, which by the time of Yalta was an inevitability, those leaders – Franklin Delano Roosevelt of the United States, Winston Churchill of Great Britain, and Josef Stalin of Russia, had different views of the planet. With all of Uncle Sam’s surging industrial and military might, and although the U.S. was considered a bully boy by its neighbors in Central America and the Caribbean, the Americans were not considered internationally as imperialists. The U.S. liked to think of itself as an enemy of colonialism. Churchill, on the other hand, was an unabashed, in fact vicious, colonialist, imperialist, and white supremacist. Stalin was focused on the nations of Eastern and Central Europe. He had been supporting the communist revolutionaries in China for decades, but it was not until 1949 that Mao Tse-tung would become victorious. Today, the modern China built by Mao, a Russian ally, is seen as the 1000 pound gorilla on planet earth.
As Belizeans began to fight against British colonialism and imperialism after World War II (1939-1945), they looked north to the United States for trade, migration, inspiration, and other reasons. In 1948, Guatemala had resumed pressing her claim to British Honduras, which she had revived in 1938, and the British responded appropriately. Domestic politics in B. H. became complicated, because reformist post-World War II governments in Guatemala, notably the 1951-1954 presidency of Jacobo Arbenz, supported the anti-colonialists in Belize. But then, the same Americans whom we Belizeans had placed on a regional pedestal, overthrew the reformist Arbenz and replaced him with a man who would serve United Fruit Company and other corporate interests – Carlos Castillo Armas. American government agencies were the culprits in the 1954 coup, but the American people were misled and misinformed: they thought Arbenz was a communist and Russian tool.
Great Britain granted Belize self-government in 1964, whereupon the United States began a program of foreign aid for Belize. Guatemala maintained her ancient claim to Belize, which she had aggressively enshrined in the Guatemalan constitution. Either in 1960 or 1966 (depending on which scholar you are reading), the Guatemalan military and oligarchy began a bloody civil war against communist and Indigenous rebellions; the American military became even more closely tied to the Guatemalan armed forces. The role of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in various Guatemalan military campaigns of murder, torture, and other human rights abuses, was exposed by American civilian pressure which embarrassed the political establishment in Washington.
When Belize looks for real friends in our differendum with neo-European Guatemala, we must include the American people in our survey. There is official United States foreign policy, crafted by the “experts” in Washington, and then there is the public opinion of the American people. The Guatemalan power structure controls official United States foreign policy by means of paid lobbyists in Washington, but Guatemala does not control the public opinion of the American people. In every possible way, Belize must educate the American people about the reality of our situation.
The Guatemalan claim to Belize comes out of an era of white supremacy, colonialism, and imperialism. Belize is an African and Maya nation in Central America. We represent the New Jerusalem.
Power to the people.