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Guatemala intensifies referendum campaign

The Guatemalan Governments has intensified its campaign to take its territorial, maritime and insular claim on Belize to the International Court of Justice, ICJ. Six days from today, on Sunday, April 15, more than seven million eligible Guatemalan voters will decide whether they want the dispute to be resolved at the ICJ. The Guatemalan Government’s campaign on the matter has taken a much larger and broader form than that of Belize’s Government. Over the weekend President Jimmy Morales was in Peten, Guatemala where he addressed a packed auditorium about the dispute.

Hipolito Novelo reporting…

Say ‘yes’ to the ICJ because Belize historically belongs to Guatemala’- that’s basically the emphasis of the Guatemalan Government’s referendum campaign to have its people vote in favor in taking its territorial, maritime and insular claim on Belize to the International Court of Justice, ICJ.

As Guatemala’s referendum nears, the government over that side of the BORDER has intensified its campaign as we saw President Jimmy Morales this weekend addressing village leaders, students and other voters in Flores, Peten. He was accompanied by Guatemalan’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Sandra Jovel Polanco.

Sandra Jovel Polanco, Foreign Affairs Minister, Guatemala: “We have to vote because with Belize there is an issue that we need to solve- we do not have a defined border with Belize, we have a territorial claim with Belize. For more than twenty years at the diplomatic level we have negotiated this issue and we have decided that it should be the International Court of Justice to resolve this territorial referendum.”

To a crowded auditorium, President Morales recounted the history behind its claim on Belize in an effort to convince them that the best option to peacefully put an end to this matter is take their claim to the ICJ.

Jimmy Morales, President of Guatemala: “For decades we have stopped discussing this topic to the new generations. I have tasked myself to ask and everyone says ‘it is because Guatemala sold Belize to England.’ Yes but England did not pay this is why England has this territorial claim. I have always said in all forums and in all forms that Guatemala has rights over the territory which has to be clarified. “

While President Morales recognizes that Belize has a growing population and a functioning Government, he does not recognize Belize’s borders.

Jimmy Morales, President of Guatemala: “The Kingdom of Spain gave the Kingdom of England the use, the use of a small part of Belize for the extraction of log wood, they then embedded up to the Sarstoon River after, this does not mean we have a problem with Belize. What we have a legitimate claim, we will find a peaceful solution to our differendum. For this referendum it is taken for consultation to the public to see if they agree to take this claim, with legitimate evidence, to the International Court of Justice for us to fight for what historically belongs to Guatemala.”

Resolved in a peaceful way says President Morales because Belize and Guatemala share a very peaceful relationship.

Jimmy Morales, President of Guatemala: “We do not have any problems with Belize. We have an excellent relationship with our brother nation Belize. You heard to the Foreign Minister that we have thirteen diplomatic agreements with Belize, we have an excellent relationship with Belize. We do not have a quarrel with Belize. What we have is a claim for a territorial differendum. You all see a dotted line there because Belize and Guatemala we do not have a defined border like what we have with Mexico, El Salvador and Honduras. What we have is an adjacency zone, borders that have not been defined. All of this is what we need to take to the ICJ and we need that on April 15 for Guatemala to move a step closer to resolving this matter.”

Reporting for Love News, I am Hipolito Novelo.

Belize will carry out its referendum after it first carries out a re-registration exercise this year.