Monday, May 30, 2011


Aurelio with guitarist Guayo Cedeno
Aurelio and the Garifuna Soul
Belizean culture is made up of sub-cultures that co-exist, but not always in harmony of each other’s traditions.

Last Saturday night the Bliss Center was packed with adoring fans and connoisseurs of Garifuna music and culture to see the best parandero performer around. Belize is Aurelio Martinez’s second home; he’s toured here many times before and due to popular demand will be here again.

I found myself dancing non stop in my seat. This is why: Aurelio’s dancing; guitar picking and singing is a crowd pleaser. The audience came from a cross section of Belizeans; former prime minister, lawyers, current government ministers, and writers. The majority of people were middle aged, but that doesn’t mean they were tame. Not by a long shot!! Between almost every song, women were dancing in their seats. Aurelio revealed his charm in every moment he had with the audience; he loves to laugh and dance, connecting with the audience by talking directly to them. And of course the audience responded with waves of affection. He opened with words of affection for Belize. Before singing he explained his long standing friendship and collaboration with the late Andy Palacio; Belize’s greatest punta rock and parandero artist.
Aurelio Martinez is a true creature of the stage- his music might not be to your taste, but just watching his command of the crowd was an unforgettable experience.

After the show the artist happily autographed his new CD and even members of his band-Garifuna Soul- were interacting with the audience.

Find out more about Aurelio Martinez here:


Allan Rhaburn-United States Army

Today is Memorial Day in the U.S. — a day that commemorates the brave men and women who have died in military service.

Today also unofficially kicks off the summer vacation season for folks in the US. Get out and enjoy the Memorial Day festivities you'll!!

So wherever you are, I hope you’ll join me in recognizing the great folks of the United States armed services.  

Start your summer right by spending a little extra time with your family and friends today. 

See you soon Sgt. Allan Rhaburn!!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011


I'm trying hard not to show it, But baby, baby I know it …You’ve lost that loving feeling…!

Do you sometimes get to a point where you are completely worn out from what you are doing? My writing that used to thrill is feeling like a chore here in Belize. The tedious little tasks are getting to me and some of it has to do with the slow pace of the internet sometimes.

I don’t want to quit, but I do want to get some of my old magic back, the way it was a few months ago.

Blogs and businesses are a lot like marriages. Sometimes you’ve got to put in a little extra work to keep the spark alive.

I sure could use a few ideas to re-romance my blogging. Any ideas to rekindle the spark that will keep the flame as bright as it used to be?

But don't worry, I'm still passionately in love!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Acclaimed Garifuna performer, Aurelio Martinez will be performing at the Bliss this weekend as part of his The Laru Beya World Tour. I was privileged to see Aurelio in Dangriga, Belize at the Blissfulsage Foundation benefit concert on May 14, 2011. And I can tell you that I was definitely pleased with his performance.

But Aurelio needs no introduction to those familiar with Paranda and traditional Garifuna rhythms . The dreadlocked singer and his group of multi-talented Garifuna Soul reached as far as Senegal and will definitely entertain you with their very own harmonious body movements and dancing. This is one of the most anticipated concert in Belize this Summer.....don't miss it!!!

Here's a sample of Aurelio performing in Dangriga recently.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressing a joint meeting of Congress

Washington, May 24 – Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, addressing a joint session of the U.S. Congress, said he was prepared to offer the Palestinians a “far-reaching compromise” if their president, Mahmoud Abbas, uttered six simple words: “I will recognize a Jewish state.”

In a wide-ranging speech punctuated by 30 standing ovations, Netanyahu praised the many thousands of brave young people standing up in the Arab world for democratic rights – rights that Israel’s Arab minority have enjoyed for decades.

He also warned that Iran’s militant Islamic leaders remained determined to build nuclear weapons and time was running out to stop them.

And he appealed directly to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to tear up his recent deal with Iranian-backed Hamas, whose Charter calls for murdering Jews whereever possible, and enter peace talks with Israel to achieve a state.

“President Abbas must do what I have done. I stood before my people … and I said, ‘I will accept a Palestinian state.’ It is time for President Abbas to stand before his people and say, ‘I will accept a Jewish state’,” Netanyahu declared. 

“Those six words will change history. They will make clear to the Palestinians that this conflict must come to an end -- that they are not building a state to continue the conflict with Israel, but to end it. 

“They will convince the people of Israel that they have a true partner for peace. With such a partner, the people of Israel will be prepared to make a far-reaching compromise. I will be prepared to make a far reaching compromise.” 

Netanyahu made clear that he was willing to give up parts of the Jewish ancestral homeland of Judea and Samaria, also known as the West Bank, so that a Palestinian state could be established.

“No distortion of history can deny the 4,000-year-old bond between the Jewish people and the Jewish land. But there’s another truth. The Palestinians share this small land with us … They should enjoy a national life of dignity as a free, viable and independent people living in their own state.”

This also meant that some settlements would not be inside Israel after the establishment of a Palestinian state, while the major suburbs that have been built close to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem would remain Israeli.

Recognizing that a future Palestine had to be economically viable to succeed, Netanyahu said Israel would be generous in the territory it gives up. But he stated once again that he was not prepared to go back to the pre-1967 lines which were impossible to defend and he would not allow Jerusalem to be divided.

Palestinians also had to stop naming public squares after suicide bombers and teaching their children to hate and they had to give up the “fantasy” of one day flooding Israel with the descendants of refugees.

“Palestinians from around the world should have a right to immigrate, if they so choose, to a Palestinian state. This means that the Palestinian refugee problem will be resolved outside the borders of Israel,” Netanyahu said. 

The Israeli leader joined an exclusive club as the fourth world figure to address a joint session of Congress more than once. The other three were Winston Churchill, the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Nelson Mandela.

The first part of Netanyahu’s hour-long address dealt with the wider Middle East region and Iran, where Netanyahu saw the greatest danger to Israel’s peace and security.

“The hinge of history may soon turn. For the greatest danger of all could soon be upon us – a militant Islamic regime armed with nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said. “Militant [Islam] could exact a horrific price from all of us before its eventual demise.”

Iran’s leaders would only be daunted if the West maintained a credible deterrence, leaving all options on the table, Netanyahu said. He added that Iranian leaders who express genocidal aims should be banned from every responsible forum in the world.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


This year has seen a particularly harsh dry season in Belize. Many fires are burning all over the Belize and Cayo Districts as I write this. This morning my sister and I were having breakfast when we heard a crackling sound behind the house. When we rushed outside, a wall of flames and a blanket of smoke were coming our way. Because the area is so dry, it quickly became a huge task.

These days more and more people in Belize are making their homes in wooded, rural, or remote areas where they enjoy the beauty of nature and the environment. But these people face the very real danger of wild fires. Wild fires often begin unnoticed and they spread quickly, igniting brush, trees and sometimes homes. In a wild fire, every second counts! Luckily for us in Crooked Tree we have not lost a single home yet.

Wildfires can occur anywhere where it is dry and wooded. In Belize an estimated 30 thousand acres have been destroyed in the Mountain Pine Ridge and many more acres of the Pine Ridge forest of the Belize District this year. The majority of these fires have been accidentally set by people burning yard clippings or rubbish. But the weather conditions such as the extended dry spell directly contribute to the constant occurrence of wildfires. 

The most common type of the wildfires in Belize are surface fires which move slowly and burn the forest floor, killing animals and causing extensive damage to vegetation. We have had a few sprinkles, but it has occurred mostly in the Maya Mountains. For now, Belizeans are anxiously awaiting the rains.

Saturday, May 14, 2011



Break out your dancing shoes on Saturday night May 14, 2011 at Why Not Island-Dangriga, Belize!!

It’s a fundraising event and all proceeds will go to benefit the Blissful Sage Foundation for Hospice Care in Belize. Raquel Battle and the Blissful Sage foundation’s general mission of this hospice program is to support those who have been diagnosed with cancer, are terminally ill and have been determined by a physician to be within their last six to eight months of life. Their goal is to assist patients in managing pain, and other symptoms, so that they can enjoy the last few moments of their lives with their loved ones.

Come out and have fun and at the same time support a worthy cause! Oh, and also get caught up with Belize’s musical stars.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Indulge your senses at the Crooked Tree Village Cashew Festival!!!! May 6th-8th, 2011.

Yes folks, set aside these dates!! The 6th, 7th and 8th of May as a weekend to indulge. The 18th annual Cashew Festival in conjunction with the Crooked Tree Village Council will be held over this weekend, showcasing the very best of the food, wine, and local music.

Crooked Tree Village, renowned for its cashew plantations, fresh fish and hospitality, will also be  offering visitors the chance to taste its organic cashew nuts, wines and chat with some of the winemakers and  masters.                                                                            
Events and activities running throughout the weekend will include the festival tent with music all day long to keep you on your feet; wine tasting and demonstrations on wine making and all cashew products; food and informal market stalls with hardwood carvings, handcrafted jewelery, and clothing.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more
 or close the wall with our English dead!
 In peace there is nothing so becomes a man
 as modest stillness and humility:
 But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
 Then imitate the action of the tiger;
 Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
 Disguise fair nature with hard-favoured rage:" Henry The Fifth.

Earlier this year when the peaceful upheavals began, first in Tunisia, then Egypt, and then on to other Arab countries, my first impression was that Al Qaeda had become marginalized, and useless, and outdated. No longer did people in the Middle East have to become violent to transform their countries into their own versions of democracy. The reason for optimism in my view, is because it was the youth that led these peaceful revolutions, the youth that through modern technology, have seen what is possible for them in countries where they were little more than serfs to not so benevolent dictators. I submit that these young people, and the population in general, are tired of conflict and religious fervor and the violence advanced by Al Qaeda in all its mutative forms, and the cannibalization of their religion..

I believe that the death of bin Laden will accelerate positive progress in the Middle East, and at the same be a warning to those who harbor ill intentions, that we will not rest until we hunt them down and destroy them. Mr. Obama, who has been criticized for being timid in his approach to foreign policy, has shown that he can disguise fair nature with hard favoured rage. I also believe that these terrorist will in the words Longfellow “will fold their tents and silently steal away."

As Zbigniew Brzezinski said earlier today, all those who sympathize and are outraged at the death of this monster are supporters of the 911 attack and no friends of freedom and democracy..

Hopefully through the determination of the United States and bravery of our military, we will have ushered in a new era of cooperation, understanding and peace in this ever changing world we all love so much. I have and always will be an optimist; I don't have any other choice.

Commentary by pele

This blog is not responsible for the views expressed in the commentary segment; all views expressed are the responsibility of the commentator, not the owner of this blog.

Monday, May 2, 2011


Osama bin Muhammad bin Awad bin Laden, the founder and leader of al-Qaeda and the face of global terror is dead!!!

"Justice has been done" President Barack Obama on announcing the death of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan. 

His death is the result of United States special forces crossing  the border from Afghanistan into Pakistan to conduct this special operation. Bin Laden was believed to be hiding in a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. After a short firefight, a team of American special forces killed Bin Laden and took possession of his body, said President Obama. 

This is a major victory for the United States, but there is no doubt that the fight against terror continues.

Killing Osama is a blow to al-Qaeda, but don't kid yourself his supporters will seek revenge around the world.

Another important point for America; this September would have been the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, and killing the mastermind of the attack brought closure to the families.

According to the New York Times, American officials said that Osama bin Laden,  was taken to Afghanistan, and later buried at sea.