Putting your bodies on the line in protests and demonstrations in resistance against oppression and exploitation has never been an easy thing for those Belizeans living on the frontline like Belizean union leader Mose Hyde. His stand for labor in Belize and his decision to step up to leadership of the Christian Workers Union (CWU) of Belize City, Belize, cannot go unnoticed.
Mose’s remarkable work as a broadcast journalist and talkshow host on the popular and revolutionary KREM radio and television in Belize City has energized a whole generation of Belizean young people to take a stand rather than becoming victims of a system of exploitation. He has taken on the challenge of both developing one of Belize’s most informative, educational and grassroots media foundations and launching a people’s movement against draconian neoliberal policies that have been unleashed on the Belizean people for decades now. And he has been counter-attacked through assassination attempts and power-driven fearmongering by those who control political and economic power in Belize.
Mose Hyde’s efforts to stand up against the neoliberal economic policies of the British multinational Michael Ashcroft and his dominance of privatized Belizean national resources, through protests and demonstrations in the streets of Belize in 2008 speaks volumes about the fact that Mose Hyde has been on the frontline of the struggle for a free Belize over many years now. These acts of protest are coupled with his regular voice of protest on the airwaves on the popular “Wake Up Belize” talkshow on KREM Belize, which has borne his signature for years now, and through which he has resurrected the spirit of uprising among a poor, marginalized, disenfranchised, oppressed and underserved mass of Belizeans in Belize City and across the country’s bastions of poverty and neglect.
But Mose has stepped out from the comfort zones of the KREM studios and live microphones and joined the revolution in the streets of Belize City, championing the labor rights of the hardworking Belizean men on the waterfront of Belize’s Port of Belize, which was privatized under previous Belizean governments and is controlled by the same British multinational, Ashcroft Holdings. He has answered the call that was the rallying cry of Belize’s conscientious citizens and legendary union leaders of the 1950s, 60s and 70s and which led to the question back then — where are the men when called upon? Mose’s readiness for action in his leadership of one of the most powerful unions today in Belize has energized the CWU back into a formidable labor force that brought the multinational giant to a collective bargaining agreement for the blue-collar workers — Belizean men who have worked the docks as stevedores for decades, keeping the lifeline of the Belizean economy alive.
But it didn’t come without its challenges, as a recent onslaught of victimization and a brutal police crackdown was unleashed upon the protesting stevedores and their supporters in Belize City at the Port of Belize in July of 2020. The naked aggression against the Belizean people didn’t sway the protesters’ resistance, but rather energized their movement. And it also forced the hands of the other Belizean unions to come out in solidarity with the Belize’s CWU and their workers, galvanizing the burning demands of the workers for a comprehensive collective bargaining agreement. Throughout it all, Mose stood his ground as a true union leader with his brothers and sisters who are Belize City’s frontline laborers and withstood the bombardment of rubber bullets by the predominantly black Belizean riot squad that was sent out to quell a rather peaceful demonstration and resistance. The Belizean stevedores were being punished for standing up for their rights against the unfair policies of the port’s owners, who had fired 36 of their workers (who have still not been reinstated) and disenfranchised them in a time of a global pandemic and economic backlashes.
When duty calls on the frontline of the struggle for freedom, justice and equality in Belize, it’s those men like Mose Hyde who have readily answered the call to stand with the people as a voice for the voiceless and who are taking action on the ground in solidarity with them in the fight for their constitutional and national Belizean rights as well as the rights of those who have built the country of Belize brick by brick. In the memory and respect of those Belizean union leaders like Antonio Soberanis and Cecil Betson, we honor the revolutionary struggle waged for a cause in their legacy in the spirit of Mose Hyde.