The Belize Network of NGOs (BNN) has expressed grave concern over the Guatemalan Armed Forces (GAF) latest encroachment and aggression against the participants of the Eco Challenge kayak race, which was held on Saturday. The BNN has issued a statement referring to acts of hostility by the GAF which have become commonplace and threatens the safety of Belizean citizens who have all the right to move freely within Belize. Senator Osmany Salas pointed out that the GAF’s latest aggression is a classic case of déjà vu.
Osmany Salas Senator NGO: “What happened last year is exactly what happened this past weekend so we felt it necessary and important to express our concerns about the Guatemalan armed forces continue the encroachment into our Belizean Territory because our understanding is that the confrontation occurred on our side of the Sarstoon River. We all know that from mid channel north is Belizean territory and the participants from that Kayak race from Barranco to Sarstoon Island, it never once entered Guatemalan Territory so in effect it was the Guatemalan Armed Forces that entered into our territory. That is aggression and I understand that they also tried to ram one or more of the Kayakers which endangered their lives so we are very extremely concerned about what we believe is a clear violation of our territorial integrity and sovereignty by the Guatemalan Armed Forces. As I mentioned that occurred a year ago almost exactly the way it occurred this past weekend.
Salas said that the Belize Network of NGOs is calling on the Government to take action in light of this latest aggression by the GAF.
Osmany Salas Senator NGO: “We urge the Government to as we understand they did last time to send a strong protest note tot the Government of Guatemala but to go beyond that this time and to inform the world community and International Organization such as the OAS about those continued acts of aggression by the Guatemalan Armed Forces. It is extremely important that we do that and that we do that very firmly and express it forcefully and firmly in the form a very strong notice note.”
Salas stressed there is need to internationalize this aggression since the world needs to know that the Guatemalans are being confrontational against Belizeans in our territory.