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Re: From The Publisher, Amandala [Re: Marty] #433234
03/17/12 08:07 AM
03/17/12 08:07 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 71,169
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

“Even among colonial horror stories, the atrocities of King Leopold II’s rule in the Congo stand out. Studies like Adam Hochschild’s ‘King Leopold’s Ghost’ (1999) have shown in vivid detail the venal cruelty that rendered life for the Congolese so wretched that they might have envied the Africans sold into overseas slavery in previous centuries.

“The fate of the Congo was the more bizarre because it was not technically a colony. It belonged to Leopold personally, not to Belgium. Still, the Congo was recognized as a Free Trade state by treaties with the United States, Germany, Britain and other nations. So notorious did Leopold’s regime become – thanks to the polemics of Mark Twain and the lurid revelations of the explorer Henry Morton Stanley and the diplomat Roger Casement – that the king was forced to hand the Congo over to the Belgian state in 1908, shortly before his death the following year.

“From then until independence was abruptly granted in 1960, the Congo was one of the many African colonies quietly administered by European nations.”

- from a review by Martin Rubin, published in The Wall Street Journal of Monday, March, 2012, of Matthew G. Stanard’s Selling the Congo (University of Nebraska Press, 387 pages)

“The European elite undertook to manufacture a native elite. They picked out promising adolescents; they branded them, as with a red-hot iron, with the principles of Western culture; they stuffed their mouths full with high-sounding phrases, grand glutinous words that stuck to the teeth. After a short stay in the mother country they were sent home, whitewashed. These walking lies had nothing left to say to their brothers; they only echoed.”

- pg. 7, PREFACE by Jean-Paul Sartre to The Wretched Of The Earth, Frantz Fanon, Grove Weidenfeld, 1963

Compared to electoral politics, editorializing has what may be described as an advantage, in that editorializing is mere opinion whereas electoral politics involves, and usually demands, performance. On the other hand, there is a downside to editorializing, because you can only say the same thing in so many ways so many different times. After a while, there is a measure of futility built into the very concept of editorializing.

In places like Great Britain, the United States, Italy, Belgium and the other parts of the world where the rulers of planet earth reside, the wealthy and powerful people who are the rulers believe that the planet belongs to them. At least, that is the way they behave.

There are many nation states of Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean which were colonies of the rulers until the post-World War II era, when the rulers had to begin granting their colonies something called “independence,” which turned out to involve symbols and did not really constitute freedom. These new nation states acquired flags and anthems and ceremonies, but they did not really acquire effective power over their resources.

In theory, the Congo owned its mineral wealth after independence and the Nigerian people owned their petroleum resources post-independence, but strategic pressures and financial bribery, designed in the war rooms of the Western rulers, resulted in the creation of a small minority of natives who ignored the best interests of their peoples and themselves became obscenely wealthy working for the companies and institutions of the same people who had once colonized them. Frantz Fanon described these small native minorities as the “national bourgeoisie,” and some scholars referred to the “new world” of supposedly decolonized nation states as “neocolonialism.”

In former British colonies like Jamaica and Belize, there is a political system called parliamentary democracy which is always dominated by two major political parties. In the case of Jamaica, these are the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) and the People’s National Party (PNP). In Belize, these are the People’s United Party (PUP) and the United Democratic Party (UDP). The political system featuring two major parties results in the peoples of such nations being always divided, no matter what the issue. Real change never takes place, and apparently concrete progress almost always turns out to be illusory.

In Belize last week Wednesday, we had general elections which returned the UDP to office. In Jamaica at the end of last year, there were general elections which replaced a JLP government with a PNP one. In Jamaica, the JLP is the more pro-business party, while the PNP is more roots. In Belize, it was the UDP which used to be more pro-business, and the PUP which used to be more roots. These roles have been reversed in Belize. It is the PUP which is now more pro-business, and the UDP which is now more roots.

Be that as it may, there were nationalistic things being done in the economy by the UDP in their previous term which were considered acts of hostility by institutions and companies based in the ruling West. When these institutions and companies expressed their disapproval, they were supported by the national bourgeoisie of Belize. The nationalistic initiatives implemented by the UDP were considered beneficial by the masses of the Belizean people, and so the UDP won a second consecutive term last Wednesday, though barely.

In Jamaica in the 1970’s, a PNP Leader by the name of Michael Manley tried to take Jamaica down the nationalist road of self-sufficiency. This incurred the wrath of the Western rulers, and they retaliated by destabilizing Jamaica in socially and financially devastating ways. The Jamaican society and economy collapsed, and the PNP fell to Eddie Seaga’s JLP.

Once you embark on the nationalist road, as Jacobo Arbenz did in Guatemala in 1951 and as Fidel Castro did in Cuba in 1959 and as Hugo Chavez has been doing in Venezuela in the third millennium, then you have to prepare yourself and your people for dire happenings. In the case of Arbenz, when the dire happenings began, he decided against arming the Guatemalan people and essentially went quietly into exile. Castro had fought and won a revolution, so when the dire happenings began, his people were already armed, and the Cubans have continued fighting for their nationalism and self-sufficiency up to the present day.

The reality in Belize is that half of our children every year enter the streets to try to make a living somehow. The vast majority of them have to become criminals. Entering the September business/holiday season last year, the UDP government took emergency measures to control crime and violence in the nation’s population and business center. Since they decided soon after that to call general elections, they continued the September emergency measures. These measures are not sustainable, because the national bourgeoisie, while benefiting from the measures where Belize’s business climate is concerned, do not support them. Belize’s national bourgeoisie believe the solutions to Belize’s problems lie in free enterprise, free trade, foreign direct investment, “dog-eat-dog,” and the resumption of economic domination by the Western rulers in the U.S., the U.K., Europe, etc. – the “Friends of Belize.”

The reality for Belize, therefore, is that despite the UDP’s sparkling new Cabinet, and their explicit commitment to protect the Belizean poor, the British and the Americans believe that Belize belongs to them. In that belief the British and the Americans will be supported by the national bourgeoisie of Belize. At this newspaper, despite the militant rhetoric of the Prime Minister, we don’t know that the core of his party understands what it takes to achieve national liberation. Under pressure from the Friends of Belize and our national bourgeoisie, the UDP will likely crack. This is real.

Power to the people.

Re: From The Publisher, Amandala [Re: Marty] #433928
03/24/12 08:28 AM
03/24/12 08:28 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 71,169
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

“Of the five judges who were in their places, one was a mulatto. The jury was empaneled and two of the jurors were mulattoes; one of them, as the judge who sat next to me said, was a Sambo, or of the descending line, being the son of a mulatto woman and a black man. I was at a loss to determine the caste of a third juror and inquired of the judge, who answered that he was his, the judge’s brother, and that his mother was a mulatto woman. The judge was aware of the feeling which existed in the United States with regard to color, and said that in Belize there was, in political life, no distinction whatever, except on the ground of qualifications and character, and hardly any in social life, even in contracting marriages.”

-     pg. 10, Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas & Yucatan, Volume One, John L. Stephens, Rutgers University Press, 1949   

An American by the name of John L. Stephens travelled by the “British brig Mary Ann” from New York City to British Honduras in 1839. From Belize, he travelled through parts of the republic of Honduras, Guatemala, and the Chiapas region of Mexico.

When Stephens reached Belize, the pilot who guided the brig through the Barrier Reef and into the harbor was a man who appeared white to him. But the pilot was accompanied by his young son, who was definitely “colored.” By the time he left here, Stephens had concluded that race mixing was a smooth process in Belize.

19 years earlier, in 1820, however, there had been a fairly serious slave revolt on the Belize Old River. The rebellion was not as violent or as large as the 1773 slave uprising, but it was quite significant, and was occasioned by ill-treatment and abuse being meted out in the mahogany camps by the rebels’ slaveowner. The 1820 slave rebellion is especially significant because it took place 22 years after Belize’s slave population supposedly sided with their Baymen slaveowners to fight off the Spanish (Yucatán) invaders of September 1798.

In a letter dated May 16, 1820, Lieutenant-Colonel George Arthur, the Superintendent of the Settlement of Belize, wrote the Earl Bathurst as follows: “It is with much concern I … report to your Lordship that on the 24th ultimo I received a communication from the magistrates apprising me … that a considerable number of slaves had formed themselves into a body in the River Belize, and being well armed, and having already committed various depredations, the most serious consequences were to be apprehended.”

Later, Arthur goes on: “ In my progress up the river I was much concerned to ascertain that the negroes who had first deserted, and excited others to join them, had been treated with very unnecessary harshness by their owner, and had certainly good reasons for complaint …”

Just five months later, nevertheless, on October 7, 1820, Arthur has to report to Bathurst as follows: “In my Report to your Lordship of the 16th May last, upon the insurrection which had taken place in the interior of the colony, I represented that it had originated from the harshness with which some of the slaves had been treated, and that I was not without hope that the consequences of that occasion would have had the beneficial tendency of exciting a greater degree of humanity towards these unfortunate people:- I am much distressed, my Lord, that my expectations have not been answered; and such is the increasing severity and cruelty which is now practiced with impunity …” In this letter, Arthur is specifically referring to “the result of a trial, which was instituted on the 6th instant against an inhabitant for excessive cruelty towards a poor slave …” Arthur opines that the trial, that of a free woman of color, named Duncannette Campbell, for “excessive cruelty towards a poor slave, absolutely excludes every hope, under the present system of jurisprudence, of bringing offenders to punishment when guilty of the most flagrant acts of inhumanity and oppression.” 

Another very high profile case of abuse of slaves took place in September of the following year, 1821. Dr. Manfield William Bowen, an ancestor of the late, famous Barry Bowen, was tried for cruelty to slaves before the Magistrates, one of whom was James Hyde, a Scotsman who was my great great great great grandfather on my father’s side. 

At some point in the future, Inshallah, I will reproduce the testimony in the Campbell and Bowen cases. 

In my ancestry, I have both people who were slaves and people who owned slaves. In the settlement of Belize in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, there were a fair amount of “free people of color” who owned slaves. My great great great great grandmother on my father’s side was a free woman of color, Adney Broaster, whose mother, Eve Broaster, was a Mandingo slave from the Niger coast of West Africa.

In part because of 1820 and 1821, I have questions about the Battle of St. George’s Caye narrative. My purpose is not to undermine patriotism. My problem is that I do not like to be made a fool of. I believe that there have been people in power in this territory who had reasons to create the narrative they created for 1798, and that narrative became tradition, and then it became sentimental. The narrative is now embedded, so to speak. There’s little to be done about this anymore where popular discussion is concerned. People have taken their various positions. But, in academic circles our scholars should be searching for the truth, no matter how embarrassing it may turn out to be.

We Belizeans love our country, and we cherish our history. But, truth be told, the Emory King sagas were fairy tales. After slavery was abolished here in 1834 or 1838, whatever, a privileged class of non-whites began to emerge in our society. The seeds of that elitist tree were what John L. Stephens was seeing in 1839.

For me, I believe that there were institutional changes that had to be made, that have to be made, so that we can achieve a level of freedom, justice and equality in this land. The Queen and her heirs and successors are not interested in any changes: they like things just fine the way they are. But there is also a class of privileged Belizeans who don’t give a damn about the oppression and suffering of the Belizean masses. You can’t get them to support anything.

The problem is still about skin color. You can see that if you visit the prison at Hattieville. You can hear that if you listen to the news, where the perpetrators always seem to be “dark-complexioned males…”

But, the problem today is more complicated than color. It is about a class of our people who are condemned to punishment from the time they are born, or when they start school. I have been angry for a long time about all the PUDP political propaganda I have heard about skills-training for young adult Belizeans. It’s too late for education once the youth start cohabiting and reproducing. If you don’t fix the schools for the children, then our blood will continue to run in the streets. One blood.

Power to the people.


Re: From The Publisher, Amandala [Re: Marty] #447909
10/03/12 07:44 AM
10/03/12 07:44 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 71,169
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
“As Fernando and Isabel saw it, Indian lands were not like the Islamic empires which they and their royal ancestors had fought for centuries. Muslim troops, in their view, could be legitimately enslaved – they had conquered most of Spain, exploited Spanish people, and, by embracing Islam, rejected Christianity. (For similar reasons, the Islamic empires freely enslaved Spanish POWs.) Most Indians, by contrast, had done no wrong to Spaniards. Because American natives had never heard of Christianity, they could not have turned away from it. In 1493, Pope Alexander VI resolved this dilemma of conscience. He awarded the sovereigns ‘full, free and complete power, authority, and jurisdiction’ over the Taino of Hispaniola if they sent ‘prudent and God-fearing men, learned, skilled, and proven, to instruct [them] in the Catholic faith.’ Conquest was acceptable if done for the purpose of bringing the conquered to salvation.”

- pg. 384, 1493, by Charles C. Mann, Vintage Books, 2011, New York

“ … the king was talking with Bartolomé de las Casas, a fiery Dominican priest who had just completed Brief Account of the Destruction of the Indies, an indictment of Spanish conduct that remains a landmark both in the history of human-rights activism and in the literature of sustained invective. Reading his first draft before the shocked court, Las Casas branded the conquest of Mexico as ‘the climax of injustice and violence and tyranny committed against the Indians.’ He denounced Indian slavery as ‘torments even harder to endure and longer lasting than the torments of those who are put to the sword.’”

- pg. 383, ibid.

Perhaps the most dramatic turn of events which has taken place in the Americas during my lifetime on planet earth, has been how all the hype surrounding Christopher Columbus (Cristóbal Colón) when I was a child, changed to skepticism, then anger, and now outright condemnation.

When we were growing up in British Honduras, the colonial masters were giving us October 12 as an annual holiday, October 12 being the date in 1492 when Columbus, an Italian sailor in the employ of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, first set foot on land (Hispaniola) in the so-called New World. October 12 in British Honduras was called “Columbus Day,” and the holiday was confined to the Corozal and Orange Walk Districts. At some point, and I suppose it was after the People’s United Party (PUP) got some say in the administration of the country, the rest of the country was included in the holiday.

Everything started to blow up around the Columbus story in 1992, when various people in the Americas were looking at the quincentennial of the landing. While Columbus’ voyage to the New World, and then his return to Spain the following year, had been epic achievements in seamanship, Columbus’ entry into the Americas led to what is referred to by historians as “The Conquest.” This violent invasion featured the Spaniards and the Portuguese in the first instance, but later included the English, the Dutch, and the French. The Conquest involved the destruction of Native American societies and civilizations by the invading Europeans, and then European military/political rule, from North America through Central America to the tip of South America with the Caribbean included, for the next three centuries, in the case of the Spanish dominions, and four hundred years in the cases of the others. We are speaking generally, of course. This is not an academic paper.

Let us focus today on the Spanish, because they were the first conquerors of the Americas, and they were the most successful. It is one of the great coincidences of history that the very year when Columbus set foot in the New World in the name of Spain – 1492, was the year when the Roman Catholic Spaniards finally managed to expel the Islamic Moors from Spain and to push them back into North Africa. The Moors had dominated Spain for 700 years.

The Spanish conquistadores who followed Columbus to the Americas in the early sixteenth century, men like Hernán Cortés, the conqueror of Mexico, and Francisco Pizarro, the conqueror of Peru, were brutal, battle-hardened soldiers, but they were also devout Roman Catholics. These men’s war expeditions were accompanied and blessed by priests, and as soon as the Aztecs were subdued in Mexico and the Incas slaughtered in Peru, Roman Catholic churches were established to give glory to the Spanish God. After that, these churches opened schools.

The first students in these schools were the children of the Spaniards, but as time went along, the schools accepted the children of those defeated Native Americans who were willing to submit to Spanish rule and accept their conquerors’ religion and way of life. Native American children in the Spanish schools also included the children of those who had been the early allies of the Spanish who had helped them to defeat the Aztecs and the Incas. Since it was the Church which was establishing the schools, God became a major part of the curriculum, and it was thus that the accepted, formal education of the New World featured God’s blessings as a part of the Conquest. The Catholic schools of the Spanish and the Portuguese, and the Protestant schools of the English, Dutch, and French, all taught basically the same thing – that the Christian God had looked favorably upon European entry into the Americas, because the Europeans had thus been able to civilize, more importantly Christianize, the Native American “heathens.”

Essentially, that is where things stood when yours truly began life in 1947. The Europeans had done our ancestors a favor by murdering, raping, and enslaving them: God had agreed with whatever had been done, because it was through these mechanisms that salvation had been made available to the heathens.

Well, during my lifetime European propaganda has been blown to smithereens. They can’t even call October 12 “Columbus Day” in Belize any more, although the Italian-Americans in the United States still do so. Nowadays, in these parts the holiday is called “Day of the Americas,” or “Día de La Raza.” I don’t really understand what goes on up North on October 12. Why should the Maya celebrate the coming of the Europeans? It doesn’t make sense. Up North, of course, they wonder why we in Belize City celebrate the “Baymen’s glory” when we were still enslaved in 1798.

In any case, my problem is with the God part of the equation. You can see how totally dominated we were. In order to get an education, we had to accept, implicitly, that God had blessed people to do horrible things to our ancestors in order to have our souls be saved. If we questioned the “fact” that God had blessed our conquerors, then the power structure could damn us as being unbelievers. It’rough. We have to praise those who beat us down, and we have to accept our own inferiority and unworthiness. That’s if we want to achieve salvation.


Re: From The Publisher, Amandala [Re: Marty] #448163
10/06/12 07:52 AM
10/06/12 07:52 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 71,169
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
Let it go, Mr. Said, let it go

Last week we submitted some questions for the Rt. Hon. Said Musa, Prime Minister of Belize from 1998 to 2008. These questions were rhetorical questions, which is to say, they were questions to which we know the answers, or, think we know the answers.

Mr. Musa was never the dreamer and adventurer that Assad Shoman was, but because he was a faithful friend to Assad, Said basked in the aura of revolutionary romance which surrounded Mr. Shoman. You must understand that this aura was a magnetic field which drew young university students to its energy in the middle and late 1960s, especially if those young university students belonged to ancestral groupings which were being oppressed by European world dominance. In the case of Mr. Shoman and Mr. Musa, they are of Palestinian descent on their fathers’ side, so in the boiling intellectual cauldron which was London, they discovered identity and cause in the sizzling sixties.

Electoral political success for Mr. Shoman and Mr. Musa was slow in coming in the 1970s in Belize, and by the early 1980s it had become clear that this success would be limited by some political realities within the political party they had chosen as their vehicle for socio-economic change – the ruling, undefeated People’s United Party (PUP), led by the charismatic George Cadle Price.

Then, in 1984, came political disaster for the aforementioned attorneys. The PUP lost their first general election ever, and it was by a landslide margin. Both Shoman and Musa lost their seats, even Mr. Price himself. It is important to understand that the party was rebuilt after that 1984 shocker, because then you will understand why Mr. Musa felt his hands were tied, as it were, when he resumed his political career on a solo basis, Mr. Shoman having withdrawn from electoral politics after 1984.

There are some people, like Joe Coye, who have sought to take some credit for the rebuilding of the PUP after 1984, but all we can is say what we saw from our position as political observers. Mr. Price was tired after 1984; perhaps more important, in a way he was content, because the elusive Holy Grail had been achieved, after much arduous effort, in 1981. The people who rebuilt the PUP and masterminded its surprise victory in September of 1989 were two of Mr. Price’s personal protégés – Glenn Godfrey and Ralph Fonseca.

Mr. Musa had become close to Mr. Price because he had become a family member, so to speak, but Mr. Musa’s dad, the late Hamid, had been a known, prominent official of the Opposition National Independence Party (NIP) during the 1950s and 1960s. In the cases of Glenn and Ralph, however, their PUP credentials were absolutely impeccable.

When he became PUP Leader in 1996, and then Prime Minister in 1998, Said Musa felt, for different reasons, that he was bound to stand by and for Glenn and Ralph at all times. This is not to say that Mr. Musa did not benefit personally from his troika relationship with Glenn and Ralph: assuredly, he did. But, it is to say that, because of his absolute commitment to these two, Mr. Musa made big mistakes. He made a big mistake on the morning of Sunday, August 30, 1998, when he was forming his Cabinet. He made a big mistake in the afternoon of Saturday, August 14, 2004, when he travelled to San Joaquin.

Even though the political system of Belize is considered a parliamentary democracy, we have, in a de facto sense, caudillo politics in Belize at the level of the Prime Minister. This is because, as our political system has been operated, the Prime Minister of Belize has power which can only be described as extraordinary: Belizean Prime Ministers are caudillos. And, their close associates know that. So, Prime Ministers cannot “play simple.” They have the might to make it right, whatever and whenever and for whomever.

By Belizean standards, Mr. Musa has been a very successful politician and he has become a very wealthy man. He has eaten his cake. But, now he wants to have that cake. He appears to feel some nostalgia for the aura of revolutionary romance in which he used to bask. He would like to have 1989 to 2008 be glossed over, and he would like his revolutionary credibility of 1969 to 1984 to be given some attention.

We don’t think that Mr. Musa can have his cake after he has eaten it. Perhaps a sophisticated public relations campaign can do this for him in areas of Belize where Kremandala is of no account. On the Southside of Belize City, however, Kremandala is of account, and we know Mr. Musa better than anyone else in the media field. He should let it go, and move aside for his children to emerge from the shadows. As time goes along, the fact that he took courageous stands as a young man and that he was an activist, as they say, will neutralize some of his more recent neoliberal adventures. For now, though, we Belizeans have this superbond in a tight grip around our collective neck. And, we know on whose watch Glenn and Ralph were frolicking. This is real.


Re: From The Publisher, Amandala [Re: Marty] #449604
10/24/12 07:46 AM
10/24/12 07:46 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 71,169
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
We explained to you in last weekend’s issue that political parties which are populist, trade union, or masses-based, are called “left wing,” and political parties which defend the interests of wealthy, propertied citizens, large companies, and the business class, are called “right wing.”

We also said in our last column that since the masses of the people are always far more numerous than the wealthy elite, then it would seem that the left wing parties have a numerical advantage in political systems which feature universal adult suffrage – one citizen, one vote.

Over the last six decades in Belize, we have seen the business of political campaigning become much more extravagant and expensive than it used to be. As a consequence of this, the importance of campaign financing here has grown by leaps and bounds, especially since our political independence in 1981, and the power of the wealthy has reached the point where they essentially control both of Belize’s two major political parties.

Even though the People’s United Party (PUP) appeared to be completely left wing at its birth in 1950, the richest native in British Honduras, a mulatto mahogany/chicle contractor by the name of Bob Turton, was supporting the PUP from behind the scenes. He was, in fact, Mr. George Price’s employer, and it was Mr. Turton who had pushed Mr. Price into local politics in the early 1940s.

Mr. Turton’s businesses had grown to the point where he was seriously competing with the giant, British-owned, mahogany/chicle company in British Honduras – BEC, but the colonial masters who made laws and financial decisions in the colony openly favored BEC over Mr. Turton, naturally, and their 1949 devaluation of the Belize dollar had been a body blow to Mr. Turton’s business interests, which incensed him. The PUP’s subsequent agitation for self-government and independence enormously excited the masses of the Belizean people, but self-government and independence were also where it suited Bob Turton’s businesses for British Honduras to go.

Mr. Turton died in 1955, and Mr. Price became PUP Leader in 1956, replacing Leigh Richardson. By the 1979 general elections, Mr. Price led a PUP which had both a right wing – Louis Sylvestre and Fred Hunter, and a left wing – Assad Shoman and Said Musa.

The struggle for control of the PUP’s direction came to a head in 1983 when Said Musa challenged Louis Sylvestre for the chairmanship of the party, and lost. In retrospect, this was the end, or the beginning of the end, of the PUP’s left wing, but it was not so obvious at the time.

Right wing dominance in Belize actually began with the coming to power of the United Democratic Party (UDP) in 1984. The UDP’s victory had been very popular with the masses of the Belizean people, and one big reason was simply that Belizeans wanted a change: we wanted to see if things could be different with people in administrative control other than the PUP.

It quickly became clear after the UDP came to power that theirs was a pro-United States, pro-business government which was interested in selling passports, facilitating real estate transactions, and promoting tourism. In order to achieve independence in 1981, Mr. Price had had to appease Washington’s State Department by breaking the power of those left wing trade union leaders who appeared too leftist, in fact radical, to Washington. So that, the UDP had a free rein, so to speak, with their right wing selves between 1984 and 1989. The economy roared, but the roaring was not sustainable.

The erstwhile left winger, Said Musa, saw the error of his ways, as it were, during that first UDP government, and he became a right winger. Said, we would say, became Billy. Said’s partner, Assad Shoman, retired from electoral politics after the 1984 defeat, and between 1984 and 1989 Mr. Musa entered political partnership with Glenn Godfrey and Ralph Fonseca, two of Mr. Price’s favorites who were unabashedly right wing.

When the PUP returned to power in 1989, Mr. Price was PUP Leader and Prime Minister, but it turned out that he was not the man he had been, and that the troika of Glenn, Ralph, and Said was running the show. Impatience with Mr. Price’s vestigial populism led that troika to push for early general elections in 1993, and then the actual replacement of Mr. Price as PUP Leader in 1996.

Mr. Musa’s two terms of office as Prime Minister between 1998 and 2008 were neoliberal capitalist in nature, decidedly right wing. This is why this third millennium PUP has to be invoking the name and reproducing the portrait of Mr. Price so frequently and religiously: it is to mask the fact that the PUP is on right wing steroids, a taste the party developed while watching the UDP run things between 1984 and 1989.

We said to you last week that the original political opposition to the PUP in the early 1950s was a pro-British, right wing party called the National Party (NP). The original UDP of 1973, which was an amalgamation of the National Independence Party (NIP), the People’s Development Movement (PDM), and the Liberal Party, was a pro-American, pro-business, right wing party. When the UDP came to power in 1984, its philosophy had not changed from what it was in 1973.

UDP Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s left wing decisions to take over the telecommunications company (BTL) and the electricity distribution company (BEL) have been offset philosophically by his decision to have the monster American Sugar Refining (ASR) company buy out Belize Sugar Industries (BSI). Mr. Musa had taken Belize so far to the right that Mr. Barrow’s UDP appeared leftist for a while, but that is only by comparison.

Why do poor people vote for political organizations which are controlled by rich people? This happens when poor people are not organized, as they most often are not, and when campaign financing from the rich drowns poor people in the propaganda of the said rich. The critical thing is that the propaganda of the rich ends up convincing the desperate poor that they cannot help themselves, that it is only the wealthy who can help them, with the crumbs from Dives’ table.

Right wing policies, moreover, appear safe to Belizeans because we have seen all the kinds of pressure the awesome Americans bring to bear on Castro’s Cuba, Chavez’s Venezuela, Morales’ Bolivia, etc. The enduring problem with right wing policies for people like me, nevertheless, is that if you track such a philosophy back in time, you will find that right wingers are really the philosophical descendants of those who enslaved and colonized us. Resistance to imperialism, colonialism, racism, and neoliberalism is always where I want to go and always where I want to be. Because of that resistance, I’ve taken my licks. This is real.


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White Sands Dive Shop - 5 Star PADI Dive Facility - Daily diving, SCUBA instruction and Snorkeling
Caribbean Inspired All Natural Condiments & Spice Blends, Over 100 are Gluten Free!
We manage a variety of homes, apartments, condos and commercial properties here on Ambergris Caye. Our minimum lease on ALL properties is six months.
Click for Ian Anderson's Caves Branch, Welcome to a World of Adventure
Lil Alphonse has snorkel equipment to fit anyone as well as Marine Park Tickets and flotation devices to assist those not as experienced.
Coastal Xpress offers a daily scheduled ferry run to most resorts, restaurants and private piers on the island of Anbergris Caye. We also offer  private and charter water taxi service.
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Cayo Espanto
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Click for exciting and adventurous tours of Belize with Katie Valk!
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