Power, personalities and politics | Amandala Diary

Mon. March 21, 2022
Our little gem, Belize, has made major strides towards economic stability over the past year under the new PUP government; give Prime Minister John Briceno and his party their due. Some ruptures have been in their/our favor – such as the recent decrease in the presence of Covid-19 which has allowed a gradual reopening of economic activity; and the patience and persistence of civil servants and teachers who endured the 10% pay cut even as the economy reeled from Covid-induced stagnation in business activity. But they should also be credited with positive and productive initiatives, especially in agriculture, land distribution, infrastructure, blue economy/nature conservation negotiations, etc. There seems to be more progress on the horizon, despite the crippling grip of rising oil/commodity prices accompanying the Russian-initiated “war” against Ukraine; but as a small nation in a world of big giants, it makes sense that our leaders continue on the path of constructive and cordial international relations that best serve the interests of our country. The great powers are all doing the same, and we must do the same if we are to achieve the goal of health and happiness for all of our people. In this regard, a cautionary note may be relevant at this time for those of us who are tempted to overdo it in our condemnation or praise of one side or the other when powerful nations clash, or even when their representatives happen to visit our shores.

It’s not that we shouldn’t express our support for our allies, or our disagreement and disapproval of the actions of their adversaries in any conflict, but we should always remember that these nations are primarily concerned with their own national interests. , and it is no longer as simple as one is bad (communism) and the other is good (capitalism). In fact, a closer examination may reveal that the leading personalities of nations have much to do with the level of human rights and the welfare of the popular masses, regardless of the particular political system. For example, a history review very close to home will show how the bugbear of “communism” was used by our good big brother in the north to inflict great suffering on the Guatemalan people in the name of protecting “democracy”. . Targeted propaganda has been used by action giants to pursue their own goals and interests; and that the propaganda often causes a distortion of understanding among ordinary people, who are deceived into equating communism with dictatorship and capitalism with democracy. And it’s just not that simple. Democracy is a principle that must be defended and preserved at every step. And while a number of communist countries are ruled by dictator presidents, there are enough examples of capitalist countries that have slipped into dictator-style rule, where the president wields seemingly unlimited power, as is the case currently in Russia, which has adopted the capitalist system. after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Wikipedia provides a good and brief explanation of how anti-Communist propaganda was used to justify the CIA’s overthrow of Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz in 1954, when his popular, democratically elected government was replaced by a military dictator with the support of the American CIA. in 30 years of civil war and hundreds of thousands of victims. (Google “Jacobo Arbenz” or “Guatemalan Coup of 1954”.)

Many people forget that the communist Soviet Union was one of the allied forces (allied with Great Britain, the United States and France) during World War II against Nazi Germany, Italy and Japan ; but this was followed by the so-called “Cold War”, where the two former superpower allies, the capitalist United States and the communist Soviet Union, began to vie for global dominance. The signs of the break became evident after two major conferences towards the end of the war between the leaders of the “big three” – Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union, at the Yalta conference, the February 4–11, 1945, featuring Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin; and the Potsdam Conference, July 17–August 2, 1945. At the root of the problem was a deep personal mistrust between then-U.S. President Harry Truman (who replaced the late Franklin D. Roosevelt after the conference of Yalta) and the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. , who ruled the Soviet Union from 1932 to 1952. And this distrust was further reinforced by the fact that the United States first gained the advantage of nuclear capability, as demonstrated by its atomic bombings on Japan towards the end of World War II.

“Absolute power corrupts absolutely” and dictators, whether in so-called capitalist states like Guatemala under a series of military dictators, Haiti under “Papa Doc” Duvalier and Iran under the Shah, or in communist states like North Korea under Kim Jung-the UN, or the Soviet Union under Stalin, tended to support a very small wealthy and privileged elite class at the expense of the masses of oppressed people.

The so-called “Truman Doctrine”, which led to the formation of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) in 1949, made no secret of its aim to “contain the spread of communism” in Europe or in the world; but this desire to maintain and increase their “sphere of influence” may have as much to do with great powers trying to secure markets for trade and sources of raw materials for their economies, as with building up true democracy or the spread of communist ideology.

After his annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014, it was well known that Putin still had his sights set on wealthy Ukraine, a former Soviet republic that had expressed a desire to join NATO, a military alliance of some 28 European countries. alongside the United States. and Canada, whose membership would have effectively made Ukraine “untouchable” by Russia.

For what he claims is Russia’s national security interest, since US President Biden and his European allies had refused to guarantee that Ukraine would not be admitted into NATO, Putin has now steered preventive military power of Russia against neighboring Ukraine, and neither country is communist. Wealthy Ukraine is said to be corrupt; but also Russia, which, under Putin since 2000, has gone from “croy capitalism to state capitalism”.

Fortunately, more sober minds clashed during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, when Soviet Union leader Nikita Khrushchev and U.S. President John F. Kennedy found a way to keep the peace and avoid war. ‘Nuclear Armageddon. The problem right now is that Russian President Putin allegedly idolized former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, and Stalin’s totalitarian character was most strongly condemned by Khrushchev himself in a secret speech “On the Cult of Personality and its consequences”, which he delivered in 1956 at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. (Google “Khrushchev’s Secret Speech.”) The same despotic qualities he decried in Stalin are now displayed by Putin.

Would-be dictators and individuals who use unethical or even fraudulent means to seize and entrench themselves in positions of power and authority, whether in government, NGOs or sports associations and federations, can undermine peace and progress for selfish motives and selfish ambitions, and must be closely watched and restrained by freedom-loving Belizeans and people everywhere. Democracy is energized when those who are disenfranchised fight for it; and those who already have a vote, prepare to use it.

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