By BBN Staff: The world watched in awe as results of the 2016 US Presidential Election trickled in on Tuesday night. And before all the official results had come in, it became clear. Donald Trump will become the 45th president of the United States.
Trump’s supporters met the news with joy and celebration. Everyone else met the news with confusion and unease. There was a time not too long ago when the idea of trump actually winning the election was a hilarious punchline. Now reality is settling in as the world prepares for four years of life with Trump as the leader of the most influential country in the world.
As Trump shattered expectations on Tuesday night, financial markets the world over were thrown into turbulence but have since stabilized. Financial experts, however, have warned of uncertain times moving forward.
And while that is cause for concern on many fronts, in Belize there is much cause for concern as well. Trump rose to power riding the wave of an unprecedented campaign in the realm of American politics. Trump was brash, offensive, inconsistent, unprepared and sometimes outrightly untruthful. He gave voice to a class of Americans filled with resentment toward minorities and various “progressive” issues.
Now there is fear that Trump intends to make good on many of the wild promises he made during his campaign. Among his most notorious pledges, was a promise to deport millions of immigrants back to their countries of origin. Apart from figuring out the logistics of such an initiative, the cultural impacts on those countries of origin, including Belize, would be enormous.
Belize is already faced with a dying economy. A wave of deportees would certainly compound issues that are already complicated with the current status quo. And if a mass deportation were to ever occur, there are many who would probably reintegrate seamlessly into the Belizean population and become productive citizens. On the flip side, it is very likely that there will be those who are the opposite. Many times deportees bring back negative cultural influences to their countries of origin including innovative methods of crime. And for an already overburdened and under-resourced police department any possibility of a mass wave of returning criminal elements could make an already tough job even tougher.
Many Belizeans are worried about their families currently living in the US. There is a large population of Belizeans scattered across the US and many depend on their families in the diaspora for help with things like education and medical expenses. Trump had promised to deport over 11 million immigrants. It is uncertain if he intends to act on that promise and if he does it is also unclear how such a process would even begin to work.
Trump has also expressed a hard line in terms of his foreign policy. He pledged to build a border wall and have Mexico pay for it. He threatened to kill the families of terrorists, an act characterized as a war crime. Again, there is more uncertainty about how Trump’s administration will interact with places like Belize and others in the region. But even under the Obama administration the region has suffered facing the on-going “de-risking” crisis and there has been very little progress made on that front despite calls from various regional leaders to President Obama for assistance in resolving the issue.
Would a Trump administration be less or more likely to assist affect countries like Belize in resolving the issue? That remains to be seen but Trump has indicated that under his rule as president America would be less involved in other countries’ affairs.
Some will become upset at the mention of this, but it is an inescapable reality, one which Belize has to ponder. Belize benefits greatly from funding from the US for many programs and initiatives, things that the Belizean government, because of the state of the economy, otherwise would probably not be able to finance itself. Many government departments including police continuously receive generous donations, training and technical support. Whether a Trump administration would decide to cut back on financing to Belize and other countries again remains to be seen.
The theme so far since the election results is one of uncertainty. The world is unsure of what life under Trump for the next four years will look like. Will he act on the outrageous promises he made? Will he settle into a more diplomatic role? How does he reconcile the vile things he said with being the president of the very people he offended? How will world leaders receive him? What will be his stance on important global issues? All unknown.
What we do know, however, is that America is now in his hands. And come January 20, when he takes office, it will be Trump’s world and the rest of use are just living in it.
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