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OAS Special Rep for Belize/Guatemala affairs reassigned

PUP Leader John Briceno also commented on the reassignment of Magdalena Talamas. Talamas was the Special Representative of the Organization of American States on Belize/Guatemala Affairs. Her reassignment is a result of a protest note sent to the OAS by the Government of Guatemala. In 2016, the OAS tasked a Special Independent Commission to investigate the shooting death of 14-year-old Guatemalan Julio Alvarado Roano on April 16. The Guatemalan Government blamed the BDF but the Commission’s finding exonerated the BDF soldiers and the Government of Belize. The Guatemala Government was not too happy with the report and denied its findings. Talamas supported the findings, prompting Guatemala to launch a protest note against her.

JOHN BRICENO, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

“That is unfortunate because Magdalena Thamalas has been doing a superb job at the OAS and has been following the whole issue between Belize and Guatemala for years and I think that she is one of the most knowledgeable persons when it comes to that issue as to what is taking place on the ground. We know for some time that Guatemala was upset- was not happy with some of the decisions that the OAS have been doing. For instance when they talk about the incursions and they try to do a protest note and the OAS investigates it, in every single case they have found out that it is Guatemalans that are coming into Belize, they are breaking our laws, they are stealing our timber, our logwood, our patrimony our Mayan Sites and they are stealing our Xate; they come in to assault our people. Even the last time you were talking about how the BDF supposedly shot a kid we found out afterwards that it was Guatemalans coming in to our land and shooting at the BDF and they have to try to find a way to defend themselves. They have been very unhappy on the rulings that the OAS have been doing and they need to take it out on somebody and I believe that they can only do it to the person who has been the representative for both of us Magdalena Thamalas and its unfortunate and I think that we should have stood up stronger to defend to say ‘here is a person who is doing her job to the best abilities.”

The Guatemalan boy was fatally shot while in the Chiquibul Forest.