In the last few days we have been covering various aspects of the Belize/Guatemala issue. We have gotten official feedback on how the process is moving forward, what can be expected in the short term as we near a date for a referendum. We have also heard about Guatemala’s plan to hold their referendum simultaneously with their upcoming national elections later this year. What we haven’t really heard is how the Guatemalans are treating this issue and how the Guatemalan Government feels their citizenry would respond to the option of going to the ICJ. We asked Ambassador Stuart Leslie from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to tell us what they have been able to gather in the meetings and sessions had with their Guatemalan counterpart.
“Right now Guatemala is in an election process, they have some internal problems that they are going through you guys report on all the problems they have going on there and so what I can tell you they have said on the record is that they believe that they can run a successful education campaign in two months to convince the Guatemalan people that this option of going to the ICJ is the best option. They will tell you that unlike us the Belize Guatemala issue is not a big priority for them that the problems that they are having right now and their economy and that kind of stuff is taking front page, the issues involving the election campaign that is ongoing does not involve the Belize Guatemala issue and so they believe that the time has come when they can take this to their people with a very short and quick campaign. My own assessment of what they are saying is that they are fairly confident that they can get a yes vote.”
This past Monday, May 25 saw the outgoing Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Jose Miguel Insulza perform his last act in that capacity as he witnessed the signing of the Amendments to the 2008 Special Agreement in Guatemala.