Letters — 21 January 2017
Where are the strong visionary leaders?

Editor Amandala

Sir,

Where are the strong visionary leaders like George C. Price, Eric Williams, Michael Manley, Linden F.S. Burnham, Fidel Castro, Cesar Chavez, Evo Morales, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, et al? Most of the leaders of the developing world today “suck up” to the leader of the United States of America (USA) regardless of how big or small they are. They never seem to think out of the box as did those great leaders like Fidel Castro and the Cuban people who stood up for principles. Why do we have to suffer at the hands of the USA when we could be looking at alternatives? Under the incoming US president, I don’t believe anything will improve; it will just worsen.

The African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries as a trading bloc can make their voices heard. We need to closely and carefully analyze the geopolitical situation today. America is certainly the world’s economic and military superpower, closely followed by China, Russia and India. Within a decade, the USA will no longer be the world’s leader in those two areas; it will be China, India, USA and Russia as economic leaders and China, USA, Russia as military world powers in that order.

It is about time that our leaders start looking towards the east rather than up north for a symbiotic partnership. We are merely pawns that can be used and moved around as the need arises. We should be looking towards the east, at China for a partnership which will be mutually beneficial not just to Belize but to the ACP as a trading bloc. We are currently facing problems with American foreign banking correspondence. As a good example for starters, we should look at our much smaller sister nations in the Caribbean: Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). The ACP states should use a common currency in each region which can be easily used to trade among member states.

A trade relationship between China and the ACP states could also establish the use of this common currency to trade as individual states thus eliminating the use of the US$ and all the difficulties attached to it. In Belize, most imported products are made in China followed by Taiwan. Certainly some of my critics will point to remittances and that we would have to break diplomatic ties with Taiwan and other issues that may surface as a result of especially the Caribbean leaning towards China. Certainly I have given thought to all of those problems that may arise. We have diplomatic ties with Israel, which was and is a close friend of our enemy, Guatemala. Israel NEVER supported Belize’s independence at the UN.

Remittances can still be received unless there is an economic blockade to the entire region as was endured by Cuba under Fidel Castro and Guyana under the presidency of Burnham, both leaders who had close ties with the former USSR and other countries in Asia. The Cuban and Guyanese peoples lived through the USA’s economic isolation thanks to other countries who still traded with these two countries. Today China is investing tens of billions of dollars in Africa and other sub-regions. Why can’t the Caribbean benefit also from such Chinese investments? Don’t we have a right to self-determination as we are independent and sovereign states? Let the public debate begin!

I thought that these leaders who were close to those great leaders of yesteryears were looking and learning from great role models who preceded them. Unfortunately, globalization has clouded many of their eyes and several have fallen to allow corruption to take root within their governments, so that it’s no longer about acting in the best interest of their peoples, but rather acting in the best interest of themselves, their families and close friends.

Under the incoming American leader, I envisage nothing getting any better; in fact I see it getting worse. I project that the USA will be engaged in three wars during the incoming president’s only term: in the Middle-East, West Africa and Asia, and that he will be impeached for financial irregularities and will resign. Where are the strong visionary leaders? I will wait and see. I rest my case!

Sincerely,

Gilroy Requeña
Patriotic Belizean

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