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#34596 - 02/09/01 03:23 PM The Serpent in the Camera
Marty Online   happy
February 8, 2001


BELIZE CITY, Belize _ Memo to my successor: Congratulations on being
appointed the new United States ambassador to Belize! It is a title
I have been proud to carry for the last three years.

Before I depart March 1, I want to tell you about our work here.
As diplomats do in American missions around the world, we have
tried to promote American values in partnership with our host
nation. My fine embassy team and I have achieved agreements with
Belize on narcotics, legal assistance and extradition. We have
built schools and wells. We have helped with conservation of this
country's spectacular landscape.

Belize possesses pristine rain forest, the hemisphere's most
beautiful coral reef, Mayan ruins, and magical rivers and caves.
Indeed, you are coming to nature's Disney World. Be advised,
however, that many may now equate it with a Garden of Eden,
complete with apple and talking snake.

The reason? "Temptation Island," the newest take on reality
television, is filmed on a Belizean island. The advent of this show
_ wherein a temptress or tempter tries to break up a committed
relationship _ is not a trivial matter here.

This small democracy, independent from Britain since 1981, has
many exchanges with the United States. We buy the Belizeans'
products; they buy ours. But one American import here is
ubiquitous: television.

Since the 1980's, when a Chicago super station was first to
transmit here and Michael Jordan inspired a basketball craze that
continues to this day, television has been a dominant force in
Belizean lives. Until very recently, there were no movie houses in
Belize. There are few bookstores. There is no Starbucks. But there
is television, with no fewer than 64 channels by cable and

Its influence extends across the social spectrum. One Belizean
official told me he depends on one show _ "Politically Incorrect" _
to get his news. It's one thing to see American officials skewered
on television, but until now the average American was spared
examination and judgment by vast foreign audiences. That has
changed with shows like "Survivor," "The Mole" and "Temptation

Well, you can imagine what our neighbors here think.

One highly educated Belizean took me aside at a reception and
expressed embarrassment that his nation was the setting for the
undignified behavior of "Temptation Island." As he pointed out,
Americans come here to get married or to honeymoon, not to play
games of betrayal.

Why, he wondered, would Americans want to portray themselves in
such a bad light and in such a public way, driven by greed, lust
and treachery? I reflected for a moment and told him, "That's
entertainment!" Americans may be overwhelmingly decent,
hard-working and rooted in family life, but that doesn't make good

Anyway, good luck! And by the way, you will be bringing a
significant other, won't you?

Carolyn Curiel, a former speech-writer for President Bill Clinton,
is ambassador to Belize

#34597 - 02/09/01 06:06 PM Re: The Serpent in the Camera
jlslks Offline
Maybe Ms. Curiel can get her cld job except
for Pres. Bush... She is a fine writer!!!!!

#34598 - 02/09/01 06:25 PM Re: The Serpent in the Camera
helmsman Offline
Marty, Thanks for posting Ms Curiel's letter. It is indeed a sad state of affairs when the beauty and serenity of this island and its people is so besmirched by this "entertainment". Shame on Fox network!

#34599 - 02/10/01 06:55 AM Re: The Serpent in the Camera
Barefoot Skinny Offline
Does this mean I'm fired?
PS. Find out what I'm up to at www.broadjam.com/barefootskinny

Your's not in the Caye of "A"

#34600 - 02/10/01 10:04 AM Re: The Serpent in the Camera
Marty Online   happy

you are funny skinny. cracked me right up....

#34601 - 02/10/01 10:07 AM Re: The Serpent in the Camera
Marty Online   happy
Here's a picture of Her Excellency Ambassador Carolyn Curiel during dinner at Rasta Pasta, with Maralyn, Albert, and Shanti.

[This message has been edited by Marty (edited 02-10-2001).]

#34602 - 02/11/01 12:05 PM Re: The Serpent in the Camera
Bobber Offline
This looks like a good place for me to jump in and vent a little. Temptation Island was a trash piece, so common to the American quest for TV ratings, and to provide a large number of people with something to watch and talk about. Nothing new there.
My concern is that it portrays AC in a light that will attract what I call the "trash tourists", the ones that make the rest of us somewhat embarrased to be Americans. To this point, AC seems to be a place that people put out the effort to go to for valid reasons, fishing, diving, relaxing at a comfortable pace. It doesn't have the beaches of Grand Cayman or Jamaica, it doesn't have Casinos (as we know them). No cruise ships to make it an 8 hour stop among many others. It is a place to get away from the stress of our daily lives. The people are friendly and beautiful, and have not become cold due to the exposure to the type of people that go there.
Will anything change drastically? I hope not. If this notoriety brings in the type of people who would flock there because of the show, hopefully they will find it not to their liking. We made our vacation there this year in spite of the storm, because the reason we come is not a bunch of trees or plants, or man-made beauty. We were drawn back by the people and serenity and friendliness. We would like to see the island prosper, but not at the cost of large hotels, cruise ships, and people who will treat it as "just another place". It is very special, keep it that way.
Been there, done that, the washing machine ate the T-shirt

#34603 - 02/11/01 12:07 PM Re: The Serpent in the Camera
Bobber Offline
Whew... Last time I got that passionate about anything, I ended up married.
Been there, done that, the washing machine ate the T-shirt

#34604 - 02/13/01 01:16 AM Re: The Serpent in the Camera
Sandshaker Offline

Good one!

#34605 - 02/13/01 03:54 AM Re: The Serpent in the Camera
moorea99 Offline
Marty -- Temptation Island ought to be axed. There's enough dishonesty and betrayal taking place in the US that should not be exported anywhere else in the world. Infidelity is rampant most everywhere but allowing the filming of Temptation Island in Belize is tantamount to promoting the growth of marital degradation and the ruination of familial structure. Temptation Island should be banned alongside the category of drugs.

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