By Aaron Humes
BELMOPAN, Tues. June 24, 2014
Five persons, led by Belize Can’s President Patrick Menzies, protested the arrival of United States’ newest Ambassador to Belize, His Excellency Carlos Moreno.
The protesters objected to Moreno’s arrival on the grounds that believe the ambassador is in Belize to champion the cause of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) community.
Moreno, who was a judge on the California state supreme court in 2009, was the only judge to cast a vote to overturn Proposition Eight, an initiative that reinstated a ban on same-sex-marriage.
The protesters carried placards and shouted “Abomination!” at Moreno’s vehicle as he and his wife Christine arrived at the residence of Governor-General Sir Colville Young at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday to officially present his credentials.
Menzies and his fellow protesters believe that Ambassador Moreno was “selected” by President Barack Obama to promote homosexuality, which Menzies referred to as Obama’s “new democracy,” and not in his traditional role of promoting democracy on behalf of the U.S.
According to Menzies, Moreno is quoted as saying he would teach Belize “to obey international law.” But he says Moreno – and Obama – would be better served to “just stay out of our business” and not attempt to have Belize change its constitution and laws to support the LGBT agenda.
Ambassador Moreno, in remarks to reporters at the U.S. Embassy compound, insisted that there is no such agenda and those who believe otherwise are “off the mark.”
He stated that America’s mission is to promote “human rights” in respect of all groups, whether marginalized or not.
According to Moreno, while a judge he interpreted and applied American laws as he saw fit while remaining faithful to the terms of those laws.
But in Belize, he said, he would not “presume” to apply American law or take a position on any matter based on Belizean law, particularly pending litigation.
Moreno said, “The question of human rights and the freedom from violence and discrimination applies to all individuals, irrespective of what their ethnic group is, background and so forth.”
But his opponents believe that the phrase “human rights” is a cover for LGBT promotion.
He went on to propose a “refocusing of resources” from the U.S. toward more non-military assistance in terms of education and youth development, with a focus on the arts and music. Already there is talk of cooperation with the Governor-General on his music in schools program.
The protest was brief and completed before Ambassador Moreno left Belize House an hour later.
The new ambassador is to formally meet the press next week.
He succeeds Vinai Thummalapally and his term of office here is not defined.