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Jul 9, 2014

Ambassador Fred Martinez dies in Guatemala

Fred Martinez

The death of Ambassador Fred Martinez has sparked an outpouring of tributes from his colleagues in the diplomatic community, as well as from persons from all walks of life. Martinez had been ailing for some time and was hospitalized on Saturday in Guatemala City. His condition deteriorated and on Monday he was transferred to the intensive care unit where he passed away before eleven o’clock on Tuesday night. To acknowledge the stature of the deceased ambassador, the government has announced a state memorial service for Martinez this coming Saturday. The legacy of the accomplished former diplomat, who also once served as a Minister for Trade, lies in his role as one of the central figures in the negotiations of the Guatemalan claim to Belizean territory. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Belize’s ambassador to Guatemala, His Excellency Alfredo ‘Fred’ Martinez passed away overnight, following a recent bout with an uncommon disorder known as full body chemical imbalance.  Ambassador Martinez, originally from Orange Walk, was instrumental in the Belize/Guatemala dialogue, particularly where it concerns the age-old territorial dispute.  He was appointed as the top diplomatic representative to that country in 2003, where he remained until his death this morning.


Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington

Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“We were told that he was suffering from what was described as full body chemical imbalance, that is what I was told by the C.E.O. yesterday when he informed me that he had received a text from Fred saying that he was in the intensive care unit and that was the nature of his illness.”


The human body relies heavily on chemical components to maintain a constant state of balance known as homeostasis.  When one or more of these chemicals fall out of balance from either an increase or decrease in their levels it causes the systems of the body to work less efficiently.


Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington

“We were together with Ambassador Martinez just under two weeks ago in the Punta Cana, Dominican Republic where he attended the heads of government meeting of the governments of the SICA countries.  He was part of the Belize delegation to that heads conference and at that time we noted that he really seemed to have been quite ill.  As a matter of fact I remember urging him to go back as quickly as possible and I even asked him why he had bothered to come.”


At the time of his passing, Ambassador Martinez was sixty-one-years-old.  As the former Belize’s Chief Negotiator, he is regarded as a central figure in maintaining a peaceful relationship between both countries.  In May 2013, he commented exclusively on Guatemala’s withdrawal from the referendum process, a joint exercise in which a vote would have been taken to elevate the territorial dispute to the International Court of Justice for arbitration.  That should have been held this year.


Fred Martinez

Fred Martinez, Ambassador to Guatemala [File: May 13th, 2013]

“This was very disturbing news for Belize and also very disturbing for the O.A.S. itself that has monitored and guided us throughout the process. Quite frankly the reaction from the O.A.S. was not too nice, to put it mildly. The secretary general expressed his deep and extreme disappointment that for the second time, Guatemala reneged on its commitment. And I say second time because the first time around was in 2002 when the proposals of the facilitators which was done under the O.A.S. were supposed to be submitted to referendum. Belize prepared itself and Guatemalan backed out again in the end. So this would have been the second time. Our delegation, Belize; our minister was very aggressive and strong in his posture on behalf of Belize that okay Guatemala, for you it might be a luxury to have a claim that you can gear up and wind up any time you want, but for Belize it is not. For Belize, it is a matter of national survival; it is a matter of national security; it is a matter of our territorial integrity and therefore we take this thing very seriously. To the contrary, you have been benefiting very handsomely from it using the claim at your will and disposal when you need to.”


Wilfred Elrington

“I don’t think that many people appreciate how pivotal a role he played in ensuring that we had a peaceful relationship with Guatemala. For us to have remained with such calm and relatively incident-free relationship with Guatemala all these years, having a good, strong relationship with them clearly a lot of that has to do with the skill and ability of Ambassador Martinez.  He had an excellent relationship with his counterparts in Guatemala.  He had a very good relationship with the Guatemalan government and he also had a very good relationship with the other ambassadors.  And using his own skill and tirelessness and resourcefulness he was able to ensure that Belize and Guatemala kept on relatively good terms.  There was no hostility, no negative fallout even though we’ve had some unfortunate incidents involving deaths of Guatemalan citizens.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.


Two other notable Belizeans have also passed recently.  On Tuesday morning, businessman Zebedee Pitterson succumbed following a massive heart attack.  The proprietor of Sunnyside Bakery, famous for its Sunny & Tan Bun, was honored along with twelve others in September 2008.  He was conferred with the Meritorious Service Award.  On October thirtieth, 2008 Pitterson was recognized for his charitable efforts as an Unsung Belizean Hero by the First Caribbean Bank.  

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1 Response for “Ambassador Fred Martinez dies in Guatemala”

  1. Simon says:

    Chemical imbalance? Russian trained Israelis taught the Guats how to make it appear like that. The last ambassador died of “cancer” and they take care of all the intellectuals they want out of the way.

    Guats are cheap conniving bastards who like to play like they forget they owe their bills. See also the story of Rodrigo Rosenberg from Guat who was involved with a MUSa.

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