Indigenous Communities Challenge Big Oil in Belize
The old school bus rattles along the dirt road, heading through the rainforest to the southernmost reaches of Belize. The sign would be easy to miss. Morning glory vines climb the small, rusted notice off to the right, nearly blending in with the banana plants and palm-thatch roofed houses in the Mayan community of Midway. Sarstoon Temash National Park. No Hunting, Fishing, Logging Or Fires.
A few hundred feet down the road, there is another rusting metal sign outside a small building that serves as the community health clinic: U.S. Capital Energy Belize. Oil Company Working For The Community. Like the clinic, the school and pre-school across the road are painted in the Texas-based oil company’s colors, yellow and green. Even the metal garbage bins around here are emblazoned with the company slogan: Energy that becomes life. The road ends where it meets the Caribbean Sea in the small Afro-indigenous Garifuna community of Barranco, one of the villages buffering the park.