From the Editor | Amandala Diary

When the COVID-19 virus broke out in March 2020, almost two years ago, I remember thinking to myself that the only way our roots could survive this disaster was if there was a transfer of wealth from Belize’s super rich to the poor. This does not happen. In fact, the super rich grabbed more.

Over time, I asked my eldest son, Mose, how our people survived. I knew things had been tough even before the coronavirus, so the virus was, as they say, a case of bad for worse. Mose said it was the Belizean diaspora in the United States that made survival in the home country possible. In the absence of any other explanation, I accepted his analysis.

When we watch our destitute and mentally retarded stagger so pitifully through the streets of the old capital, those of us who know the story feel a dagger in our chests. They are our people, and there was a time, for centuries in fact, that our people, our enslaved people, were the backbone of this land. Our centuries-enslaved people constituted the vast majority of the population of this British colony, called British Honduras by the colonial masters of London.

All Guatemalan children learn in school that the land of Belize was stolen from Guatemala by the British and that we Belizeans of color who live here were British property. It’s a whole story in itself, which will culminate in a judgment of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

I have told you before that we Belizeans were luckier than other British subjects in this region of the Caribbean, because we had a land bridge through Mexico to the United States of America, the wealthiest economy of the world. British Honduras was the only British possession in Spanish-speaking Central America. So when US immigration officials at the US-Mexico border heard black people speaking English, they assumed those people were black Americans, not “wetbacks”.

It was World War II that opened the eyes of the working class of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the wealth and generosity of America, compared to the suffering imposed on us by British “geechs”. During World War II (1939-1945), Belizean workers were hired to work in the Canal Zone in Panama, where the Americans ran things. Belizeans began to want to travel to the United States.

The larger context of this situation had to do with the Monroe Doctrine, a declaration by the United States government in 1823 that they would no longer tolerate interference in the Western Hemisphere by any European power, a designation that would include the Great Britain, which was in possession of British Honduras in 1823. (The United States of America had declared independence from Britain in 1776.)

But there was a special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom in the 19th century (white supremacy), so in 1859 the United States “sponsored” an agreement whereby Guatemala joined the borders international to define The Jewel – 8,867 square miles – as British. territory.

A few decades later, the commercial/industrial and military classes in power in Guatemala began to complain about the 1859 treaty, but in 1919 there was a massive uprising of black people in Belize (the so-called “Black British ), which was essentially rejecting British colonial rule. Yet Guatemala, the hostile 1,000-pound gorilla, remained on Belize’s western and southern borders, and it was the British who had to send a warship here in 1948 to protect Belizeans, the majority of whom were black.

In 1950, however, because the British devalued the Belizean dollar, Belizeans began campaigning for self-rule and independence. This original Belizean push for autonomy was supported between 1951 and 1954 by a Guatemalan government led by Jacobo Arbenz.

But Arbenz was too nationalistic for the Americans, so Washington engineered his overthrow and began installing CIA puppets like Carlos Castillo Armas and Miguel Ydigoras Fuentes to run Guatemala. The result was a terrible civil war in Guatemala, which began in 1960 and lasted until 1996.

During this period of bloody violence in the republic, Belize was completely peaceful and was granted autonomy in 1964. The British were now beginning to transfer British Honduras to the hegemony of the Americans who, following Hurricane Hattie in 1961 , began to absorb Belize. black population in the Union.

Today, Belize is a minority black population. The transition from black majority to black minority was peaceful because we Belizeans wanted to move north.

So now this is where Belize is today, where Washington has decided we are. The one thing that really sets us apart from the two Central American republics around us – Guatemala and Honduras – is that English is the official language of Belize. When that changes, it becomes a whole new ballgame. Believe me.

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