Mixed Messages on the Belize/Guatemala Issue

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Updated: May 17, 2016

In the last several months the Belize/Guatemala issue has been on the front burner of the news.  There are the persistent incursions being done by the Guatemalans into our territory; there are the aggressive confrontations by the Guatemalan Armed Forces to our soldiers of the Belize Defense Force and then there are the diplomatic talks with the Organization of the American States in the middle.  When it comes to the incursions, Guatemalans have been acting as though they possess the right to come over to Belize and pan for gold or take our xate leaves and plant their crops including marijuana; one can only speculate that that may be the message trickling down from the country’s administration.  When it comes to the aggression showed by the armed forces towards our military, it is yet to be ascertained whether their behavior is the result of a directive from the Guatemalan Government or if there is a disconnect between the Guatemalan military command and the Guatemalan administration.  Either way, the recent reports and press conferences being led by Belize’s Foreign Minister and Prime Minister are leaving more questions than answers and the lack of publicity is making many pockets of society suspicious in terms of Belize’s negotiating strategies which are constantly referred to as weak and submissive on social media.  Love News recently did an interview with Eamon Courtenay, former Foreign Minister for Belize and the current representative for the Opposition on the Belize’s Foreign Affairs team as it relates to the Belize/Guatemala discussions.  In that interview, we asked him for his views on the mixed messages; on one hand we are hearing our leaders speak of Guatemala’s commitment to a peaceful resolution and on the other hand we are still reporting of aggression from the Guatemalan Armed Forces.

EAMON COURTENAY

“I think it’s one of two things and whichever it is bad. First it is possible that there is a serious disconnect between the civilian government and the military and the military is in control and is a rogue military. If that is so, it is a serious threat to democracy in Guatemala and stability in the region. The second possibility is of course that we are dealing with people who on the diplomatic level are not being honest and not being forthright and they are giving us a story which we are believing. It cannot be that the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala can be professing to the secretary general of the OAS and to us and to others the intention of the government of Guatemala to work peacefully, to work quickly to resolve this issue, that cannot be true when we see what is happening on the ground so either he’s being disingenuous and we should reject it and expose him for it.”

While it remains unclear as to where we go from here and how it will end, Love News remains committed in following all angles to this Belize/Guatemala issue.