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#482183 01/08/14 04:42 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,393
Marty Offline OP
OP Offline
Amandala Editorial

There are branches of some Mestizo families who were fixtures in Belize City for decades and generations. These were families like the Perdomos, the Aguilars, the Cuellars, the Castillos, the Matuses, the Bautistas, the Alamillas, the Zetinas, and so on. But, by and large, Belize City was known as a Creole city. The masses of city residents were descended from African slaves brought here to cut logwood and mahogany in the forests in Belize, and a few of these families featured European DNA derived from relationships between white "Baymen" and black/brown women. The Creoles were roughly three centuries old in the settlement, and the Mestizos, who had taken refuge here after the Caste War began in the Yucat�n in 1847, were roughly a third of that age here.

In 1862, the Baymen in Belize had opted, under some financial duress, to become a British colony, Great Britain being at that time arguably the most powerful nation in the world. So then, before the nationalist revolution began in 1950, the British ran the government departments, the police, the military, the judiciary, the school system, and so on. The center of their operations was Belize City, the capital of the colony called British Honduras. The majority Creole population in the city enjoyed some advantages from the fact that they lived in the administrative center of the colony. As time went on, the Creoles took those advantages for granted, and a section of the Creole people, especially the civil servants, identified with the British administration of the colony.

Suddenly, things began to change in 1950. The darker masses of the Creole people rose up against British colonialism, and they were joined by the Mestizos, who were then known as "Spanish," by the Maya, who back then were also considered "Spanish," and by the Garifuna, who were then called "Caribs." The political vehicle for the 1950 uprising was a party called the People's United Party (PUP), and the pro-British opposition to the PUP was called the National Party (NP).

For two decades, the PUP absolutely dominated the domestic politics of Belize, and after Hurricane Hattie destroyed Belize City and Stann Creek Town in 1961, the PUP government decided to move the administrative center of Belize to a new inland capital, which was opened in 1970. The opening of Belmopan in 1970 was the ultimate symbol of the nation's psychic and physical movement away from Belize City.

After Hattie in 1961, the masses of the Creole people had begun to migrate to the United States. Imperceptibly, Creole families began to deteriorate: grandparents left behind when working adults migrated, could not control the children who were also left behind. By the time Belize achieved political independence in 1981, twenty years after Hattie, the Creoles in Belize City had collapsed socio-economically.

The only Belizean who saw clearly what had happened was the late Leroy Taegar, a physician who had been educated in the United States and in the Caribbean, and thus it was that, three decades ago, he began to analyze what had happened and prophesy what was to be. At this newspaper, we were uncomfortable with his analyses and we wanted to reject his prophecies, but the evidence of his truths just kept growing in size and impact as the years went along.

Last week, two things took place which proved that the Creole people, beyond the shadow of a doubt, have collapsed. A 16-year-old boy tried to kill his 19-year-old girl cousin because she was associating with other young people he did not want her to associate with, and then a few days later the news broke that the National Sports Council would be closing down the MCC Garden in the old capital, even as Belize City's only semi-pro football franchise was fighting to make the playoffs.

Strictly speaking, and in all fairness, we should now proceed to explain in detail why these two incidents have struck us so devastatingly. After all, we have many readers, at home and abroad, who will not be in a position to make the link. But, at this newspaper we are experiencing a combination of bitter shame and burning anger. If we were to speak, we would have to insult and condemn some Belizeans of high rank and office. If we were to speak, we would have to break the laws of Belize. If we were to speak, we would have to return to the days of our youth.

There was no vision amongst our leaders, beloved, and our people have collapsed. This is real.


Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,393
Marty Offline OP
OP Offline

The Creoles are losing power but they have not collapsed yet

By Wellington C. Ramos

I read an article written by the owner and publisher of the Amandala, Evan X Hyde, several times and I disagree with him that the Creoles have collapsed. It is more accurate to say that they are losing power. The Creoles are in the position that they are in due to the ethnic, economic, historical and political transformation that has been taking place in our country over the years.

The indigenous people of our country are the Mayas and they were there for centuries before the Spanish and the British came to this part of the world. Both the Spanish and the British governments implemented many inhumane policies to deprive these people of their native land and eradicate their culture but failed. In the neighboring countries of Mexico, Guatemala and other countries in Central America, the native Mayas are still treated as third class citizens.

The people who are of pure European blood or mixed with Europeans, known as Mestizos, control these countries economically and politically.

In Belize, the British brought African slaves into our country and brainwashed many of them to look at the native Mayas and other ethnic groups as people who are inferior to them. Like the Mestizos, many of these slaves had children for their white slave masters through duress and other means and the label "Creole" was used to identify them, which is not their true African identity of origin. This was a part of the British plan to continue brainwashing these African people to make them submissive and embrace British culture over their own.

As Belize started to develop into a colony, the Creoles were always alongside the British, with the Mayas and the Garifuna people at a distance, in all their curfew and isolationist segregated laws. It was as if they never existed and were living in a different country. Belize needs to enact laws to provide equal opportunity to all citizens and end all forms of racism.

The Maya people fought against both the Spanish and the British to try and end their atrocities but they were unsuccessful. The Garifuna people also fought against these Europeans in their native homeland Saint Vincent ("Yuremei"), namely, the Spanish, French and British until they lost the war in 1796 and then were forcefully removed to Roatan in 1797. From there they migrated to Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Belize, where they currently live.

The British did not allow any physical relationship between the Creoles and the Garifuna people for many years in Belize despite the fact that they both share a common African ancestry. While most Creoles live in Belize City up to this day, the Mestizos are scattered all over the country of Belize and have the largest population. They have contacts with all the various ethnic groups.

The Garifuna people share ethnic roots with both the Creoles and the Mestizos but have better relationship with the Mayas and the Mestizos due to their geographic location in the southern part of Belize. Also they were teachers in most of the villages throughout the history of Belize and developed trust and a long working relationship with them during those times. Since 1981, when Britain granted independence to Belize, George Price with his economic policies diverted most of our nation's wealth to the Corozal and Orange Walk Districts. This is despite the fact that Stann Creek and other districts' contribution to the GDP has always been substantial.

Politically, electoral districts were made also to increase the amount of seats in those districts and Cayo, while the seats in the south remain the same. These hard facts are before the eyes of all, yet it is still business as usual with us.

Belize is lucky to have the passive Garifuna people of today, who are the ancestors of warriors that have lost their lives to make them exist. How long will this continue to remain the way it is, no one knows. The Creoles and the Garifuna people must unite together to advocate as Belizeans who are deserving of their universal rights in our country of Belize.

It is not about political control but economic control. Economically, the Mestizos are better off than the Creoles and the Garifuna people today. They are asserting themselves and taking the initiatives to prepare for their people and we must do the same.

Our people still have some chances to assert ourselves and achieve economic security. Many of our people still own land that they can use to cultivate their own food instead of just selling it for mere pittance. God gave us a mind to think and become innovative and find ways to uplift ourselves out of long term poverty. People from all over the world are becoming Belizean citizens and are trying to get a piece of Belize. In the end, it is not only about the Creoles losing or gaining power but the government of Belize providing for all Belizeans in a just and equitable way. We do not want a Belize where one group has all the power and the other groups become powerless, because that will lead to racial tensions.

Currently, the distribution of our nation's wealth is unequal. Poverty exists mostly among black people and there is no program to eradicate it. We cannot only depend on the government but must come together and confront this monster.

This topic is difficult for me to write about while I think about and witness my people's struggle daily to provide for themselves and their children. Where is the economic plan for the southern districts of Belize to make the citizens wage earners? For years now we have been changing representatives and political parties, with no significant development taking place. It is like when we keep shuffling the cards to play poker and we can't find the "jokers".

I am getting older and I have lost faith in false promises because they have now become comfort for fools indeed, if they are believed. We tell our people to attend schools and, after they have graduated and incurred huge debts, they cannot find employment to pay for their education.

Belize will have to come up with a plan to maximize our nation's natural resources to economically develop our country and end all human suffering. My motivation for making my comments is because, as a Garifuna person who has children that are mixed with Creoles, who knows and has travelled my country of Belize extensively, intermingled with people from various ethnic groups and is against all forms of racism, I see things from a different perspective.

This was an important article written by the publisher and I think more people should state their opinions on it and don't engage in whisper campaigns. This is the only way we will be able to heal our racial wounds and build our nationalism.

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