REPORT #231 April 2000

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

True democracy by geography is as far away as ever in Belize.

Alejandro Toledo in Peru seems to have come out of nowhere in competition for the Presidency of Peru in a run off election. Fuijimoro had jailed, exiled or otherwise eliminated all his political opposition through the use of the government as his personal instrument of authoritarian rule. With his own military and secret police, death squads and torturers, there has been no one capable of challenging him. Overlooked in the recent election contest was Alejandro Toledo who came out of left field, who got the protest vote against Fuijimoro. Even if the election was rigged and it was, and the media coerced and intimidated into denying any opposition politically, there is now going to be a runoff election for the Presidency. Peru's constitution forbids three term President's, but that is not stopping the despotic dictator Fuijimoro from changing the rules.

Toledo says the biggest decision he has to make, is what to do, if Fuijimoro does not allow an evenhanded race. April 24th is the OAS mission deadline for Fuijimoro to show that he will allow a fair election. No one expects that will happen. Dictators do not go quietly. Toledo the opposition runoff candidate said that, what is happening in Peru is setting a dangerous precededent, referring to the rigged elections that Fuijimoro favors.

Belize also suffers from rigged fraudulent elections. The actual elections and voting are relatively honest, it is the electoral system that is crooked. The inherited colonial model of population voting, gives the CREOLES and MESTIZOS of only one town, a lock on the ownership of the National Government of Belize. The other ten towns and 288 to 300 villages scattered through the six districts are only given token representation in the government. The town folks of Belize City have used this excuse of population representation to maintain the National Government of Belize as their own property, since before independence and during self-governing years. They treat the National Government and Treasury as their own particular job bank and source of perks and money. Because of the system and rule by the port Belize City folks who have a lock on the system of government elections, they have misappropriated funds from general national development over the years, to triple the growth of the port city where they live, ensuring that this one place in the nation of Belize will continue to own Belize as their own private corporation under the old colonial population representation rules.

Elsewhere among our neighbors, things are also not fairing so well. New civic-military alliances are still holding a monopoly of power. Chile, Guatemala and now Venezuela are some of these. Democratic institutions are also suffering setbacks in Ecuador, Haiti and Paraguay. These groups control the executive power, congress, the courts, the constitutional tribunals, the media, the armed forces, everything. The same basically in Belize. There are no checks and balances! Fraud is not so much the stealing of votes at the ballot box in Belize anymore. In Belize the election is stolen earlier by the port city town folks by the electoral divisions and continuation of colonial population representation rules.

Venezuela is a new reproduction of an old model under President Chavez. This man is creating a dangerous destabilization to the region. Can we end the tendency to slide to authoritarian rule by autocrats? It does not seem so, not in Belize, not in Venezuela, perhaps not in Peru and certainly not in our old Commonwealth African ex-colonial states like the former Rhodesia now called Zimbabwe. President Mugwabe of Zimbabwe has been called a demented maniac autocrat by his African opposition, with his flaunting of the law of the land and inciting poor people to seize and evict his white Zimbabwe citizens born and raised in that country, from their homes, farms and property. The British Embassy is full of Zimbabwe born white citizens seeking refugee status. African ex-colonies are full of autocrats elected under the same system of government as used in Belize. One day perhaps, we will see an elected autocrat in Belize who is a Mayan, and then perhaps that person will do what is happening around the world under the same Belizean governing system. Maybe that Mayan will evict all those Creoles who are now the autocrats of Belize and send them back to Jamaica, the Garifuna back to St. Vincent and the Spanish back to Merida. Could it happen? Not likely, but could it? Yes it could if our fellow African ex-colony Commonwealth countries are any example, but not likely. Soon as the Creoles of the port town Belize City lost control of the government of Belize, they would start crying for "checks and balances", district governments and a more democratic model of governing. Ha! Ha! Ha! How the tune would change real fast! But right now the townies are the elected autocrats under the current fraudulent electoral system of ALL of the nation of Belize without checks and balances, or equitable representation by districts. It suits them right now, but it is nice to fantasize things as if the shoe was on the other foot. Better yet, would be to fantasize of a real democratic Belize, that is self-reliant and self-sufficient, with a proud sense of citizenship and fairness under a more geographic representation system. Latin America is the usual mess in the first century of the new millenium. And Belize is right there in the middle of it all, no different than anywhere else in Latin America. Just another elected autocratic government run by one small group in one town of the whole nation.

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