An FBI paper dated January 5, 1968, claimed that a then confidential source, one William George Gaudet (the publisher of LATIN-AMERICAN REPORTS, stated that he was in Belize (British Honduras) during the Christmas holidays (1967), and that “he heard several comments from acquaintances that Philip Goldson … was giving every indication of working with the Cuban Government. Goldson, it was rumored, was conducting a siege of agitation to create continued friction between Belize and Guatemala.” Gaudet, who claimed to be a “personal acquaintance” of then British Governor , Sir John Paul, said he had “interviewed Sir Paul in connection with the Goldson matter.” The same FBI paper to which we referred to earlier in this paragraph, says that Sir Paul reportedly told Gaudet “that British intelligence is almost sure that Goldson is being paid by Cuban authorities in cash monies by the courier route … that British Intelligence is conducting their investigation with the assistance of Jamaican informants to the extent that they hope to trap Goldson cold when he is contacted by a courier for a payoff. “
-pg. 23, AMANDALA, Tuesday, December 5, 2017
Today’s column will be, I think, a delicate, historical one with implications for the present political scenario. As such, the column may have to extend over two or three issues of the newspaper.
In Belize, commentators, journalists, and academics are well aware of the threatening, oppressive nature of The Jewel’s power structure. There are certain subjects you had best ignore, because there is nothing positive to be gained for one’s self if one seeks to examine certain incidents or scenarios too closely, if any at all.
The power structure in Belize controls the educational system. Your children’s future in politics is at the mercy of a group of people who have had the power to use it over a period of decades, generations, centuries in fact.
I think, looking back, that the big issue in my journey from 1968 was always African and Indigenous (Mayan) history. What had seemed logical and necessary in our school system from thousands of miles away where I was studying in an American university, was something highly controversial, explosive, and absolutely an anathema a half century ago in the Belize educational system. Yours truly had to be disciplined. In 1970, the power structure tried to incarcerate I, and in 1984 they put out a contract on my life. I’m just saying.
Well, as I have told you before, I knew any kind of career in electoral politics was not for me, but my insistence on African and Mayan History, fifty years and more ago, sucked me into a world where there were Belizeans here, a minority for sure, who agreed with me, who stood in the streets with me and who gave me inspiration and courage.
I think General Ydigoras Fuentes was elected President of Guatemala in 1957 or 1958, and he became the most militant Guatemalan president of my generation’s lifetime where the republic’s claim to British Honduras was concerned. The thing you have to understand about Guatemala is that their economy, in a corporate sense, is very intimately linked with some very powerful corporations in the United States. As a result, all things being equal, America supports the Guatemalan claim to Belize, because their military (the Pentagon) is mandated to support their corporate sector (the so-called “military-industrial complex”).
Ydigoras Fuentes was totally pro-American and anti-communist, which is why he allowed Cuban exiles to be trained by the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for the Cuban invasion (Bay of Pigs) of 1961. In return, Miguel Ydigoras later claimed he was promised by the John F. Kennedy administration that the U.S. would support Guatemala against Great Britain insofar as the Belize matter was concerned.
In fact, Ydigoras, we have heard from more than one source, actually had a Belizean girlfriend living in Benque in Belize, and so he was trying to cross into Belize at the Melchor border one time when he was stopped by a Belizean police sergeant. This story is almost never told in the Belizean media. Perhaps it’s not that important. At the time, however, it was more frightening material for us Belizeans to consider.
As children (I was eleven years old in 1958), the name of Ydigoras frightened us much, because our parents (my middle class Creole mother was a Methodist NIP who believed in Philip Goldson, and we children of hers were raised in her way of thinking) were frightened by Fuentes. “The boy who stood on the burning deck” for Belize was Philip Goldson, a man who had already served nine months in a prison in British Honduras because of his absolute concern for, and loyalty to, the Belizean people. Goldson was our hero. Straight up. And remember, he was doing most of his heroic fight through his newspaper, The Belize Billboard. Mr. Philip did not become the actual Leader of the NIP (National Independence Party) until late 1961/early 1962.
Perhaps the major difference between Mr. Goldson, the Leader of the Opposition, and the PUP Leader, Premier George Price, was that Mr. Goldson was a family man – he fathered six children with his wife, Hadie. Mr. Price was a lifelong bachelor. Thus, when Mr. Price was travelling the Belizean countryside campaigning for self-government and independence, Mr. Goldson was in his newspaper offices on Barrack Road, which was downstairs of where he lived with his wife and children.
In August of 1969, in the early months of the United Black Association for Development (UBAD), we got into a fight with Mr. Goldson’s muscle arm, the CIVIC group led by Shubu Brown, a former boxer, and Buntin Fuller, a former senior police officer. Two or three days after that fight on the Harley’s Open Lot, someone tried to burn down Mr. Goldson’s printing press, which was, to repeat, downstairs of Mr. Goldson’s family residence. The printing equipment was seriously damaged, but Mr. Goldson’s family, fortunately, was unharmed. But none of Mr. Goldson’s six children with Mrs. Hadie, to the best of my knowledge, has ever visited Belize since they left to live in New York in 1972. The incident must have been incredibly traumatic.
The first suspects were, of course, the UBAD group, but remember, Mr. Goldson’s newspaper had three major, powerful enemies – the ruling People’s United Party (PUP); Dean Lindo’s new People’s Development Movement (PDM); and the Government of Guatemala, which was in league with right wing fanatics in the State Department, the same people who had accused Mr. Goldson of becoming too close to Fidel Castro’s Cuban government. (See AMANDALA headline story of Tuesday, December 5, 2017.)
The evidence that Mr. Goldson did not hold me, the UBAD Leader, responsible, was because, less than two years later, he reached out to me for support in late 1971 when his political world was collapsing around him. This resulted in the ill/fated NIP/UBAD coalition (six NIP candidates; three UBAD) of December 1971 (Belize City Council election) which was boycotted, interestingly enough, by Dean Lindo’s PDM, which had been allied with Mr. Goldson’s NIP in the December 1969 general election.
This was how I got sucked into Belize’s electoral politics. The NIP/UBAD coalition failed (39 percent of the vote), but it appeared that hundreds of PUP supporters had split their votes in my personal favor. Whereas Mr. Goldson, already having serious vision problems, saw the handwriting on the wall from fairly early in the night at St. Mary’s Hall, where the counting was being conducted, we UBAD rookies remained at St. Mary’s Hall until early the following morning when the final results were announced. It was in that way that an NIP/UBAD coalition, led by senior members of the NIP from whom UBAD accepted all instructions, became, in effect, the defeat of the UBAD ragamuffins by the ruling PUP. Young as I was, I took things personal. Big mistake, from many different angles.
To be continued.