They say that the people the power structure in Guatemala hates the most are journalists, trade unionists, and environmentalists. If true, that would place Partridge Street directly and repeatedly in the crosshairs of some very dangerous and powerful people. I’m saying that because Kremandala may be characterized, from time to time, as all three of those things.
I’m not trying to start up any kind of fuss. What I seek to do is look at some historical developments in such a way as to create enlightenment for our generation, which made decisions in the early and middle 1970s based on limited knowledge of the real situation.
By now all of us who study these matters know that the foreign policy of the superpower United States of America supports the power structure in the Guatemalan republic. American foreign policy, apart from defending the “Stars and Stripes” at home and abroad, is focused on doing business abroad, making money, enriching the citizens of America, and improving their standard of living on a constant upward curve. The Trumpians said it succinctly: America first. American companies have had massive investments in Guatemala from long before the bloody Guatemalan civil war of 1960 to 1996.
Okay now, let’s go back to what happened in 1973 in the socio-politics of Belize. The self-governing British colony was still majority African in ethnicity and still being claimed and militarily threatened by a much larger Guatemala. The recognized leader of the “fight against Guatemala” movement was a journalist/politician by the name of Philip Stanley Wilberforce Goldson. Goldson, a former trade unionist, led the Opposition political party named the National Independence Party (NIP). The NIP was considered “Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition.” Mr. Goldson’s party had held two seats in the Belize House of Representatives from 1965 to 1969, those seats being Goldson’s Albert and the Toledo North seat held by one Edwin Morey. After the December 1969 general election, Mr. Goldson held the only Opposition seat – Albert.
Inside the United States, a Democratic Party president by the name of John Fitzgerald Kennedy had been assassinated in Dallas, Texas in November of 1963. What was his sin? Well, Kennedy had made peace, agreed to a truce, with Russia during the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Kennedy was also considered, relatively speaking, a supporter of the African American civil rights movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And thirdly, Kennedy was not that interested in escalating the American war in Vietnam, at least not the way his successor, Lyndon Baines Johnson, proved to be. All those three positions would have been considered mortal sins by the type of Trumpian, right wing Americans who stormed the Capitol in Washington early last month and basically tried to overthrow democracy in America.
Still, where American foreign policy is concerned, there is not that much difference between the two major parties in the United States, the Republicans and the Democrats. But insofar as domestic doings are concerned, I believe Belizeans in the United States discovered that Republican rule, the most recent example being the Donald Trump presidency, is more interested in facilitating wealthy Americans than catering to the distressed masses. And yes, distressed masses do exist in America. Katrina proved that in 2005.
When I understood in 1973 that there was an initiative in Opposition circles to replace Mr. Goldson, who was studying law in London at the time, as the Opposition leader, I was disturbed. And, when a new order of things was established in the Opposition with the United Democratic Party (UDP) in September of 1973, I was alarmed at the new party’s most dramatic statement: the UDP would de-emphasize defending the Guatemalan claim to Belize and instead would focus on economic development. There was something wrong there, but I never knew what it was.
Recently, a gentleman almost my age who had been running as a young man with the Dean Lindo-led UDP in those early/middle 1970s, started calling the names of some very prominent American Republicans to me. These names included those of Mulford, Weyrich, Fahrenkopf, and Pierce. These were big-time Republicans, and they had varying degrees of contact with the Lindo-led UDP.
My message to you today, then, is that the UDP game between 1973 and 1979 was much bigger than any of you realized. Myself, because of my years in America, I had felt something was wrong somewhere, but I just could not put my finger on it.
Now then, what have we seen develop in The Jewel since 1973? Well, the African American population of Belize has been dramatically reduced from maybe 65 percent to perhaps 25 percent. Even more dramatic has been the gang wars which have slaughtered thousands of young, healthy, Black Belizean males over the last three decades. In addition, a large number of Belizeans have been able to migrate to the United States without a lot of hassle.
Belize has clearly changed. Would you say Belize is more vulnerable today where the Guatemala claim is concerned than we were before 1973? I don’t believe my personal opinion is relevant. All my personal opinion is today, is interesting speculation for people of my generation.
One more thing, just for balance. My source for the Republican information told me Washington viewed Shoman and Musa at the time as serious and dangerous communists, who were sympathetic to the guerrilla movement across the Belizean border in Guatemala. So that is what the Chamber of Commerce Belizeans were seeing, who pulled Opposition leadership from under Mr. Goldson’s feet. Belize’s big merchants wanted to confront more directly what they considered dangerous communism. They made common cause with Republicans from the Nixon-Kissinger era.
But, other things have happened here. The most heart-wrenching is the civil war on the Southside of the old capital. It’s become so bad now that relatives are killing or trying to kill relatives. Things are totally out of control in the Black community. Who is to blame?