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John has big dreams — Part 14

FeaturesJohn has big dreams — Part 14

After John read the article that his work companion had recommended to him, he had more questions than answers, so he decided to give him a call to understand what was the reason that Charles wanted him to read it. He took out his cell phone and dialed Charles’ number. On the other end of the line, Charles picked up, answering, “Hello, John! How are you spending your Sunday evening?”

John: Greetings, Charles. I am having a wonderful time. I was hoping you can help me. After reading the article you had recommended to me, I remained perplexed. I seem to have more questions than answers.

Charles: Such as what?

John: There are so many things that are happening in the country, but I cannot speak publicly about it, because I can lose my job.

Charles: It is true. The government thinks that we cannot see and we do not know, but if we want to conserve our job, we have to play the fools, same as what the colonial apologists did in the past and present.

John: Explain to me this about the neo-liberal capitalist free-trade system.

Charles: The neo-liberal capitalist free-trade system is one where the corporations seek cheap labor, in other words, modern slavery, and governments are not to interfere in their business. Nonetheless, these corporations force government to change any person that holds an important post in the government that does not comply with their philosophy and can even change an entire government, plus, demands complete ownership or privatization of any business that they establish in a country. They do not invest in those infrastructures nor welfare for the people. It is the government who uses the people’s money to invest in the requirements of the corporations for them to take out the free labor products. The country is going through so many problems. Some of which are that of the cañeros, the stevedores, the employees whose salary continues to be a starvation wage of $3.25 an hour—from companies and businesses who give jobs for two, three weeks whereby they can suddenly terminate you without an explanation. The labor laws of Belize protect the employers, but not the employees.

John: That’s very interesting, Charles. I did not know all of that. How can the government not interfere? They are the leaders of this country. What they say goes, they have the power to stop this madness, but they don’t have the guts to do so. They have to do what Washington says. On the other hand, the President of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, gave a speech a few days ago to celebrate their independence, whereby he stated, “For 200 years we have listened to the dictatorship of foreign powers and based on those dictatorships our people have been killing each other …” Today, El Salvador is a free country. More than 70,000 criminals have been removed from the streets and the United States and the United Nations are screaming human rights. The President of El Salvador backfired, “You want them, then take them!” Moreover, El Salvador is clean, no criminals roaming the streets. Here in Belize, we don’t have that. We live in fear of being killed, raped, stolen from or kidnapped. Our children aren’t safe. Meanwhile, the workers are being paid a hunger salary. $3.25 is nothing to support a family; everything is expensive and they don’t want to increase salary. They are supposed to increase it to at least $10 an hour, and they give a lot of holidays. As we speak, in England, thousands and thousands of people got up questioning who voted Charles III as King, protesting to do away with the monarchy. Nevertheless, here in Belize they have a holiday to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s death.

Charles: Yes, John, that’s right. In addition, the stevedores at Belize City are in a mess. They were supposed to be compensated $1.5 million which came out of the People’s Consolidated Revenue Fund. However, due to certain private entities, the compensation was stopped. The Port of Belize is privatized, everything is privatized. There are no lands, everything is sold out to foreigners. Belizeans have absolutely nothing. That is the neo-liberal capitalist free-trade system. Free trade—they pay $2 for something and they take it abroad and sell it for more. That is the problem.

John: I understand, Charles. And, what about the democratic socialist system?

Charles: In a democratic socialist system, it is more social-oriented. They also accept foreign investment, but it is well-organized and controlled, since the government also has a say in those businesses, since the foreign investors would invest a 49% and the government a 51%. In that case, foreign investors cannot have a say in the affairs of the country. Plus, they would have to invest to take out the goods and not leave it to the populace of the nation. They must pay for damages such as accidents caused to the employees. In addition, the employees should have a 10% of the annual profit which would be shared among all employees, except the managers and accountants. The day-off of employees should be paid by the company, not like how it is practiced in Belize where the employee works 6 days a week, one day to rest but not paid for. Likewise, the government would have enough money for the healthcare, with all that which is necessary for any type of sickness, not like what is happening today, or from since it got its independence, where there is a lack of medication, doctors, nurses, etc. Democracy is where the people elect their representatives to administrate the wealth of the country and not to see about their personal enrichment. That is the difference between the both systems.

John: Very interesting. I thank you for your explanation, because I was not aware of all that what you told me. I wish you a happy Sunday night and see you some time in the future so that we can continue this dialogue.

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September 18, 2022
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