“We mentioned before that the big landlords in Belize, not to mention foreign absentee landowners, will be hostile to Harmonyville because of its very definition. But, we will now go further. Harmonyville, in our opinion, violates the sense and spirit of the 1968 Seventeen Proposals, which basically called for Belize to become a junior state of Guatemala’s.”
– from the pg. 5 editorial in Amandala of Wednesday, June 4, 2014.
This newspaper unconditionally supports BGYEA’s Saturday morning rally in Battlefield Park. A very few of you may not know what is BGYEA and what is Battlefield Park. BGYEA (Belize Grassroots Youth Empowerment Association) is some roots Belizean citizens trying to put food crops and plants in the ground. Battlefield Park is the historic protest site for the city and nation of Belize.
It took a long time for the masses of the Belizean people to realize that we were actually losing our country, similarly to how the Palestinians lost theirs after World War II. Israel serves an important purpose for the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which is the military arm of the US and the European Union (EU). Israel is a powerful military surrogate for the US and NATO which looks over the critical oil fields of the Middle East. The United States and the European Union desperately need the Middle East oil fields for their economies to survive and grow, but the American and European problem was that these Middle East oil countries were often Arab and often Islamic. Israel is an anti-Arab and anti-Islamic bully boy, a nuclear one at that, for the US and the EU. That is why the Palestinians had to lose their country. And that is why the Palestinians are now a people without a state.
The anti-colonial uprising which began in Belize in 1950 was a remarkable thing, because there was an influential class of Belizeans, the majority of whom were civil servants in the colonial administration and employees of the big British businesses like BEC, Brodies, and Harley’s, who had become comfortable with British colonial rule and were essentially sympathetic to the exact same status quo which the masses of the Belizean people began to rebel against in an organized fashion in 1950. The organization through which the people began to rebel was the People’s United Party (PUP). The PUP in 1950 was a working class political party, built on an established trade union called the General Workers Union (GWU), and the working class PUP quickly gained the support of the rural, farming element of the Belizean population.
A lot of things have happened since 1950 in Belize. Perhaps the most important difference between 1950 and 2014 is the fact that the PUP and their political opposition, now called the United Democratic Party (UDP), have become much more similar in outlook. Back in 1950, there was a clear difference between the working class, rural PUP and the opposition to the PUP, which came, to repeat, from the civil servant employees of the British colonial administration and the Belizean employees of businesses with British home offices.
After Belize became a self-governing colony in 1964, the British and the Americans agreed that the colony would come within the United States’ Monroe Doctrine orbit, because of the fact that Belize lies on the eastern border of Guatemala, and because Guatemala was such an important ally for the United States. For Washington, the Guatemalan oligarchy needed to be protected, at all costs, from the 1959 Cuban Revolution. With that in mind, the Americans presented their first “working paper” for the proposed “Independence” of Belize. That paper was called the Seventeen Proposals, and it was formally presented here in 1968.
We said to you in our mid-week editorial that it is our considered opinion that the BGYEA initiative is contrary to the sense and spirit of the Seventeen Proposals. Because the Seventeen Proposals continue to represent the ideal in the Belize-Guatemala relationship where the United States is concerned, and because neither the ruling UDP or the Opposition PUP can afford to stand up to Washington and the pro-Washington Belizean oligarchy, BGYEA stands alone.
You won’t see any Asian immigrants at Battlefield Park on Saturday morning. Their huge investments in the countryside and giant buildings in the financial district of the old capital, post-independence, are evidence of their understanding of the Seventeen Proposals and the inevitability of those Proposals. The Guatemalan oligarchy and the Belizean oligarchy share the same philosophy and the same projections. Neither their shared philosophy or their shared projections take the masses of the Belizean people into any kind of consideration or account.
When the Belizean people rebelled against different manifestations of the Seventeen Proposals in 1966, 1968, and 1981, the State Department did not react with any sense of urgency. They believed that they could wait out the Belizean people, and they knew that New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston and Miami represented dream destinations that the Belizean people could not resist. Washington knew that time was on their side, not to mention money. Washington decided to wait us out. Goldson passed away. We grieved. Lumumba died. We grieved. Then from out of the gloom there came some youth, from the west, and these were BGYEA. We cried hooray.
BGYEA has been beaten down so far because they are innocents. They do not know the size of the game. BGYEA could not understand why they were meeting opposition from their own government when they merely sought to till the land and grow some food. In 1948, the Palestinians could not understand why they were losing their land. We always thought that the Seventeen Proposals were, at their core, an oil deal. So, arguably, was Israel.
It is not easy to explain to the Belizean people why we must support BGYEA on Saturday morning. The two most powerful national organizations in Belize are the UDP and the PUP. None of these two major political parties is supporting BGYEA. All we can say to you is this: if BGYEA falls, the Belizean people fall. You have to trust us on this one. We are about to lose our country. Let’s stand together, shoulder to shoulder.
Power to the people.