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Strategic Location

Strategic Location
August 02
11:42 2019

By Neri Briceno –

Prior to the planned and expected invasion of Nazi occupied Europe on July 9th, 1943, which was definitely anticipated by the Germans, the Allies had to decide where to strike them first in order to weaken their machinery by having them fighting on multiple fronts. The obvious target became Italy, which British Prime Minister Winston Churchill described as ‘fortress Europe’s soft underbelly.’ This was because the Allies long realized that Italy was technologically, militarily and financially the weakest of the three Axis powers. Additionally, the Italians no longer had the stomach for a protracted war. But one of the least mentioned fact about this is that while Italy was relatively weak at this point, it was also at the center of the entire conflict and therefore the logical and strategic choice. Positioned between the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas, Churchill’s choice was probably based on the strategic location more than anything else.

Conquering Italy meant that the Allies now had a foothold smack in the middle of the World’s largest conflict. With wars in the south in North Africa, to the east in Crimea, the Allies with Italy in their hands would be at the southernmost doorsteps of Nazi occupied Europe.

Belize today, with its strategic link between the Caribbean and Latin America and as a natural bridge to the north, finds itself in that key position.

Like 1943 Italy, compared to any of its neighbours, Belize does not have the technology, military or resources to fight the monthly breaching of its air space by what has now become the ‘air force’ of the drug cartels. The cartels like Churchill realize Belize’s weakness and that is the reason they continue to target it because of the simple fact that it works. Additionally, like 1943 Italians, the Belizean people no longer seem to have an appetite for it or have become so weary of clandestine planes that they no longer seem to care. The ‘middle passage’ of which Belize’s geographic or strategic location is a key bridge has now become the ‘soft underbelly’ to the lucrative and insatiable appetite for illegal narcotics in the north. The fact is that the cartels seem to be winning and like the Cosa Nostra assisted the Allies during the invasion with logistics, manpower, intelligence and corrupt officials, so too in Belize there seem to be no shortage of willing participants.

Don’t get me wrong – the cause in 1943 Italy and 2019 Belize are polar opposites, but the strategy and results are the same. We are at war, people and the enemy is powerful, well financed and will destroy our tiny nation.

It has now become abundantly clear that two things hold true in Belize. One, that there is a direct relation between the violence of the street gangs and the drug planes that keep landing. What has essentially been the legalization of marijuana does not improve this condition. And two, that the economy of the nation is hanging by a shoestring which is mainly propped up by tourism because there is obviously no other legal game in town. If we do not put an end to the planes – one of the key catalysts influencing this chaos, the tourists will stop coming and we will really be in trouble then because we will have more violence and even less monies/resources.

No honest Belizean in their right mind can tell me that the government, the Police and the national security apparatus do not know who the people behind the drug trade in Belize are. With a population of a little over 398,000 everyone knows if the minister has a sweetheart, the name of his dog and probably what he ate for breakfast this morning. There are absolutely no secrets in Belize yet our investigative capacity and not to mention conviction rate seem to be extremely limited.

Imagine if the FTC documents regarding Sanctuary Bay Belize could have been leaked and the drugs lords are far less secured – how come no one still seems to know. Somehow we cannot crack a single drug plane landing or even better catch them in the act.

This is unacceptable at every level because this is already biting us in the street, in our communities and even in our own families. Weekly there are corpses found in bushes, rivers, along roadsides and in dumps. Shootings have become the daily norm and pretty soon no matter how much PR and lipstick the BTB puts on this pig in the international community to keep the tourist dollars flowing, it will still remain a pig. We need to fix this not because we may or have the potential of losing tourist dollars, but because it is destroying our beloved nation.

It’s all about the people!!!!

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