The Short Story of the Belize Slums
The smallest country in Central America with a population of over 300,000 is unique and different compared to the other Latin American countries.
To truly understand the culture and the current conditions of Belize, you must first know the history and background of the small Central American country.
To begin, the country of Belize was the only country in Latin America, outside of the Caribbean’s and Brazil, to not be colonized by the Spanish.
The arrival of the British led to the colonization and control of the region that was formerly known as the British Honduras.
During the British rule many African slaves were imported into the territory to work on the sugar plantations, which is the reason for a large portion of the country’s population to be Creole or Afro-Belizean.
Not until 1981 did the country of Belize gained their independence from Great Britain.
In present day Belize the country suffers from a poverty rate of over 40% with an economy that is mostly based on tourism and the exports of sugar and citrus fruits.
With mass poverty in the Belize slums and a lack of opportunities and resources many Belizeans have been migrating towards the United States since the mid-1900s into places like Los Angeles.
As people were relocating into the United States many were simultaneously moving back to their native country of Belize, along with bringing other cultures they adopted while living in the United States.
Some of these new cultures that arrived into Belize have contributed to many of the current problems, with one being the rise in Belize gangs activity.
Due to the ties that many have with Los Angeles, Belize gangs like the Bloods and Crips have heavily grown over the past few decades, mostly in Belize’s largest city, Belize City.
Activity in certain sections of Belize City, outside of the tourist attractions, has caused a homicide rate that is higher than most United States cities.
With many refugees from nearby countries relocating to Belize, conflicts in the rural parts of the country have also been increasing.
To escape poverty and corruption of their native country many Mestizos and Amerindians have been moving into the rural communities of the Belize slums, which is slowly changing the country’s demographics.
Despite having similar issues as other countries, Belize still has a strong unique culture that separate itself from other Latin American countries.
*Note: All information is provided through people of the community, outside sources, and research. Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate.