From The Publisher, Amandala
“Who doubts the marvelous discovery of gasoline as the product which has given man the unmatched freedom to move over the entire surface of the planet? But this marvelous invention of gasoline has caused, at a world-wide level, a very serious ecological imbalance. Today millions of cars run on thousands of millions of kilometers of asphalt that cover cities and fields, valleys and mountains of the world, all the while permitting millions of vehicles to produce carbon monoxide as a sub-product of the firing of the gasoline-driven motors. This carbon monoxide ascends into the atmosphere and comes in contact with the ozone layer that covers the totality of the planet’s atmosphere and enters into a chemical reaction burning up the ozone. The ozone defends us from the infrared sun rays which can burn our skin. It has been repeatedly documented that humanity has already made a hole in the ozone layers that is already critical for vast numbers of people who will be exposed to the harmful infrared rays of the sun.”
- pg. 67, Sisyphus – The Evolutionary Infancy of Humanity, by Reynaldo Pareja, www.Xlibris.com
“The problem the U.S. faces is that while its appetite for oil is virtually unlimited, its reserves are quite limited. It consumes roughly 25 percent of all the oil produced in the world each year, but has only 3 percent of the world’s crude reserves. To make up for the shortfall, the U.S. relies heavily on oil from outside its borders, leaving it vulnerable if key reserves are under the control of hostile nations. Overcoming this vulnerability has been a central goal of U.S. policymakers, particularly since Arab nations dramatically cut back their oil exports for a brief period in the early 1970s. With roughly two thirds of the world’s oil located in the Middle East, a major thrust of U.S. policy has been gaining control over the region and its reserves.”
- pg. 2, War, Big Oil, And The Fight For The Planet, Linda McQuaig, Anchor Canada
In the early months of 1968, I came to a firm decision to abandon a promising academic career in the United States and return home to Belize. Looking back, I can see that there were several critical events which confirmed me in my decision. These were the Tet offensive in January of 1968 in South Vietnam, the Seventeen Proposals in March of that year in Belize, and then the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., in Memphis, and Robert Kennedy in Los Angeles, in April and June of 1968.
During my years in the United States, I came to the conclusion that I had been mis-educated in Belize, and that we Belizeans had been kept ignorant of some extremely important matters. I felt the need to share what I had learned with my people.
There was also a selfish aspect to my decision. In Belize, I had been somebody. In America, I was nobody. A return to Belize meant a return to being somebody. Needless to say, everybody wants to be somebody.
It is not as if Belizeans were the only human beings deliberately being kept in ignorance by those in the power structure who controlled education and the media. Americans themselves, and they belonged to a nation much more wealthy, much more powerful, and much more informed than we Belizeans could ever hope to be, were being kept ignorant by those who were making billions and billions in the tobacco industry, the food industry, the chemical industry, and the overall military-industrial complex.
The world was a violent and dangerous place then, and it is a substantially more violent and dangerous place now. If an individual, an institution or a nation is misinformed or uninformed, and as a result of that makes a bad decision, then such an individual, institution or nation will pay the price for that bad decision. In Belize, we didn’t know that tobacco causes cancer, so we smoked a lot of cigarettes. We Belizeans didn’t know that salt and sugar contribute to hypertension and diabetes, so we ate a diet loaded with sodium and sugar. We didn’t know that our Barrier Reef was one of the most incredible assets in the history of planet earth; we didn’t know that the territory of Belize was a huge pool of petroleum and natural gas; in fact, many of us had never been to any of the two magnificent Blue Holes, we had never visited the Thousand Foot Falls, and all we knew of Belize was that it was a swamp. Because we were ignorant of our own “wealth untold,” we rushed to America the first chance we got, and most of us never looked back.
In that exodus which began in earnest after Hurricane Hattie in 1961, we who had been a comfortable majority here became a tiny minority in America, and soon became a minority in Belize itself. Our communities in Belize became destabilized at the family level because of the migration north. Many of us who owned homes and lands, sold them off cheap to foreigners who were better informed than we were.
Those of us who remained in, or returned to, Belize, now find ourselves under overall attack, and indeed we also are attacking ourselves, in such a way and to such an extent that often it appears that we are living a nightmare. In Iraq and Nigeria, they have often felt the same way, I imagine. We know that oil has proven to be both a blessing and a curse for those two nations. In Belize, oil has not been much of a blessing. More and more each day, it appears that our oil fields will become a curse for us Belizeans.
The British and the Americans for sure had found those oil fields in the 1950s, and it was in the late 1950s and the early 1960s that a lot of strange things began to happen here. In the late 1950s, a Guatemalan president by the name of Ydigoras Fuentes really increased the fear in Belize with his Guat-claim-to-Belize rhetoric, and then in early 1961 a Guatemalan political adventurer by the name of Francisco Sagastume actually led a small invasion of Belize at our southern border in Toledo. Then came Hattie in October of 1961, and the United States government opened up Uncle Sam’s doors for Belizeans to migrate to America en masse. Any Belizean who had a relative in the States could travel to that relative with no bureaucratic hindrance. In 1962 there came the Puerto Rico conference to discuss the Guatemalan claim to Belize. This is an important conference which is never discussed in Belize. In 1963, the school holidays here were changed to coincide with the school calendar in the United States, and Belizean weather patterns were completely ignored.
Direct attacks on Belizean sovereignty in the form of the Seventeen Proposals in 1968 and the Heads of Agreement in 1981 were violently rejected by the Belizean people. Since then, the attacks on our national psyche and integrity have been more subtle and more sophisticated. As a people, we have lost much of the confidence we had. This is not because we are genetically flawed. It is because the petroleum beneath Belizean land and Belizean sea is far more important to London, Washington, and whomever, than the Belizean people. When you view matters from such a perspective with such a data base, you will come to the conclusion, as I have, that we are fighting for our very survival as a people in The Jewel we call Belize.
Power to the people. Power in the struggle.