Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD) is reporting recent increased encroachments in the Chiquibul Forest. The escalating encroachments within our borders are, according to the FCD, as a result of a ‘Yes” vote which the Guatemalan Government garnered during its ICJ Referendum last month. According to the FCD, Guatemalans who live near the border are being told that their Government has regained Belize and a list is being compiled for those who want land. The propaganda is being spread by rogue Guatemalan leaders who are collecting money from poor Guatemalan farmers to put their names on the list. Evidence of land surveys were seen earlier this week by FCD Rangers who were on patrol in the southern area of the Chiquibul. There, they discovered ‘a complex array of active human activities. Rangers discovered fresh survey lines, plantations of beans, corn and bananas planted by Guatemalan farmers. FCD says these crops are located up to two point seven kilometers inside the Chiquibul National Park. Today Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber was asked if Cabinet has discussed Guatemalans encroaching into Belize’s Chiquibul forest.
Patrick Faber, Deputy Prime Minister: “What I can tell you is that while it is that we continue to try to work things out diplomatically something as serious as that, incursions where they are putting out survey pegs and all of that in our territory from my understanding it is very limited understanding, I reiterate it is not in the adjacency zone this is actually in Belizean territory and that kind of thing we have to dissuade and we have to move strongly against but we have not discussed it as a cabinet or beyond what I have just seen or heard on the news.”
FCD is recommending bolstering patrols in the area and the involvement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Organization of American States to assess the human activity.