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Dec 17, 2014

Cabinet Waives Visas for Several Countries Including Colombia

Godwin Hulse

About a month ago, Cabinet decided to waive visas for a long list of countries from Japan to South Korea to closer to home….Colombia and Brazil. According to the Minister of Immigration, Godwin Hulse, the visa requirements were tedious for nationals from these countries applying to visit Belize. Hulse also says that in the case of Colombia, Belize was acting on U.S. interests.

 

Godwin Hulse, Minister of Immigration

“Cabinet has decided as it always does that certain countries will no longer require visas. It is public S.I., so it is no leaked document, we have waived the requirements of visas from Japan, we’ve waived from South Korea, we’ve waived from Colombia, we’ve waived from Brazil and we’ve also waived from persons holding U.S. permanent residence card. The reason for that is very simple…we are pushing tourism. COPA wants to fly in from South America to Belize; they cover Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay and I think Argentina and to bring that new tourist element into Belize, you can’t hang up people with having to apply and it’s taking a long time and a long time so we waived the visa requirements. It’s as simple as that. We have about fifty countries that don’t require visas to come to Belize—some are bilateral, some are unilateral. So if you find that out, that’s very, very late news because we did it a month ago.”

 

Reporter

“Sir, but the perception is always that a country like Colombia, there is always that element of narco-trafficking that the immigration department must be especially vigilant for.”

 

Godwin Hulse

“But immigration doesn’t look after narco-trafficking at all. That’s for security service and that’s for Interpol, etc. The European Union doesn’t require any visa for Colombia; none of the South American countries require visas for Colombia, most of the Central American countries and the Caribbean don’t require visas for Colombia. Our visa requirement for Colombia and the security check was on a United States dictated issue. The fact of the matter as a sovereign country we decide who we are going to waive visas for or not and we cannot and will not earmark or determine that everybody coming from Colombia is a trafficker. Let’s be real, the world has fought and United States have put billions of dollars in trying to fight the drug trade; not succeeded at all. In fact those guys are better than anybody else in moving their product. So we don’t want to victimize people who will be flying here for tourism purposes because they are coming from Colombia to say you got to go through all this screening. Belize needs to look after its own interests.”

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