Belize’s first native millionaire, Isaiah Emmanuel Morter (1860-1924), bequeathed his fortune to Marcus Garvey for the cause of African redemption in the early 1920s. Garvey never got the money and assets, because the United States government framed him on mail fraud charges and sent him to jail in the Atlanta State Penitentiary. During the two years plus Garvey was in jail, after which he was deported to Jamaica, charlatans got ahold of Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), and the matter of the Morter fortune ended up in the courts. (In 1939, British courts finally gave Isaiah Morter’s fortune to one Lionel Francis, a Trinidadian physician, who came to British Honduras to enjoy the money and assets. Garvey died broke in London in 1940.)
Belize’s second native millionaire, Robert Sydney Turton, was arguably the individual who was most responsible for the birth of the independence movement in British Honduras in the 1940s. Turton, the “illegitimate” son of a British army officer and a black Belizean lady, had selfish motives for seeking self-rule in Belize. He was doing most of his mahogany, chicle, and import commission business with United States companies, and the British colonial tariff laws in the colony gave great advantage to Turton’s British competition – the Belize Estate and Produce Company, Limited (BEC). The man who ended up leading Belize to independence, Rt. Hon. George Cadle Price, was Mr. Turton’s personal secretary, and Mr. Turton was responsible for Mr. Price’s entry into electoral politics in 1944.
So then, whereas Bob Turton and the early People’s United Party (PUP) viewed the United States as a welcome economic and political alternative to British colonialism, it was that same United States which had destroyed Marcus Garvey two decades before, thus ruining the African consciousness dream of Isaiah Morter.
Less than two decades after the birth of the PUP in 1950, the United States revealed its plans for Belize through the publication of Bethuel Webster’s Seventeen Proposals in early 1968. Essentially, the United States was willing for Belize to become an independent state, but only as a satellite state of Guatemala’s, especially where foreign affairs and defence were concerned. Remember now, when Great Britain granted Belizeans self-governing colony status in January of 1964, the British held on to foreign affairs and defence, pending the achievement of independence. As you now know, independence for Belize was delayed for seventeen years, until 1981, because of Guatemala’s claim to Belize.
The reason the United States desired a status for Belize which was subordinate to Guatemala, was because the Americans wanted to please the Guatemalan upper classes, who were and remain America’s most important business, political, and military allies in Central America.
As we write, Washington’s foreign policy establishment has succeeded in destabilizing several nations in our region – such as Bolivia, Argentina, Ecuador, Venezuela and Brazil, which were leaders of the anti-neoliberal movement in South America. Guatemala is the region’s most prominent exponent of unfettered neoliberalism, which favors abject invitation to, and imperialist involvement of, massive transnational capital in cheap labor Third World nation-states. Those governments in our region which have sought development models which are alternative to neoliberalism, such as the five mentioned earlier in the first sentence of this paragraph, are considered troublemakers by Washington and Wall Street. To ensure that Belize never becomes such a troublemaker, Washington and Wall Street are supporting Guatemala’s aggression against, and intimidation of, The Jewel.
When the Europeans first entered/invaded Africa and America in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, they encountered cultures and civilizations which, they have subsequently taught our children in the Christian schools run by European missionaries, were “primitive.” The Europeans were lying. The fact of the matter was that there were cities like Timbuktu in Mali, West Africa, Tenochtitlan in Mexico and Cuzco and Cajamarca in Peru, which were more magnificent than anything in Europe. The European competitive advantage was not in culture and civilization: it was in warfare. By means of violent warfare, not by any recourse to Christian prayers, various European nations conquered various areas in Africa and America, and conquest of our ancestors enabled these European nations to enrich themselves through the slave and cheap labor of our ancestors, and the theft and exploitation of the resources in our ancestral homelands.
When Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels began to develop their communist philosophy in the latter part of the nineteenth century, they considered their philosophy relevant only to the industrialized nations of Europe, which were by then the unquestioned masters of planet earth. When communism gained control of Russia in 1917 and China in 1949, Russia was a feudal society and China an agrarian one, thus not eligible for classic communism according to the theoretical analysis of Marx and Engels. Whatever, communist development principles enabled Russia and China to join the ranks of the world powers, which at the beginning of the twentieth century included only such as Great Britain, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Spain and other European nations which had become industrialized along capitalist principles.
After World War II (1939-45), going into the second half of the twentieth century, a bitter competition began between the traditionally capitalist, industrialized Europeans, now joined and led by the capitalist, industrialized United States of America, on the one hand, and Russia and China, industrialized through the communist philosophy, on the other. The two sides, the first group of which became known as the First World, the second group considered the Second World, were competing for the raw materials and natural resources of Third World nations, which were mostly inhabited by the descendants of those people in Africa and Indigenous America who had first been brutalized and butchered by the Europeans five centuries before. The conflicts between the First World and the Second World became known as the Cold War.
In the 1960s, a so-called Chicago School of Economics, led by one Milton Friedman, developed a more sophisticated, more cruel form of capitalism which became known as neoliberalism. The first neoliberal experiment by the United States took place in Chile in 1973 when they used General Augusto Pinochet to overthrow President Salvador Allende, a democratically-elected socialist.
Now then, when Belize’s Foreign Minister, Wilfred Elrington, and Guatemala’s Foreign Minister, Carlos Raul Morales, meet this weekend in Istanbul, Turkey, Turkey being the U.S. military ally nearest to Russia, what the vast majority of Belizeans do not know is that Elrington and Morales are soul brothers, as we would say. They are soul brothers because they are both totally neoliberal and absolutely pro-American. Elrington and Morales work for the same masters – Washington and Wall Street.
In the Senate of Belize during the 1993-98 Manuel Esquivel administration of the United Democratic Party (UDP), the aforementioned Wilfred Elrington, then the Leader of UDP Government Business in the Senate, went on record as being categorically opposed to the teaching of African and Mayan history in the schools of Belize. You will say, dear readers, and perhaps justifiably, what does this have to do with the price of rice? What does this have to do with all that we have been discussing in this essay? The answer is this. The multimillionaire Mr. Elrington would not wish for our ancestral history in Belize (or Guatemala) to be examined and disseminated, because he is perfectly satisfied with the established order of things in Guatemala and in Belize. What is, in his mind, deserves to be, and what is, is good. The excessively ambitious Guatemalan bureaucrat, Carlos Raul Morales, is of a like mind.
Inside Guatemala and inside Belize, nevertheless, there are people who are of a Third World frame of mind. These are human beings of African and Mayan descent, and they are the majority: they are the Guatemalan and Belizean masses. The neoliberal world is a European world; it is the First World, the same peoples who entered/invaded Africa and America five centuries and more ago. There are many of us in the Third World who would like to change the established order of things. We are African and Mayan people. We must be controlled, or divided and crushed, at any cost. These are the instructions from Washington and Wall Street. At the end of the day, these are the instructions being carried out by the soul brothers of Istanbul. Just so you know.
Power to the people.