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Dec 17, 2014

An Exclusive Interview with the President of Guatemala

The President of Guatemala, Otto Perez Molina, arrived in the country at about eight-thirty this morning; he joined other presidents at a breakfast with Prime Minister Dean Barrow prior to the start of the official proceedings of the summit. And after the signing of the historic agreements, the president agreed to an exclusive one-on-one interview with News Five.  We asked him the significance of the agreements to keep the peace between the two countries as well as his message to the Belizean people. Here’s that interview with William Neal.

 

William Neal

“Looking at the agreements and the process to get to this point, how do you feel having actually signed the agreements?”

 

Otto Perez Molina, President, Guatemala

“I want to say that this is a historic step; we have signed thirteen very important agreements. We are not now only seeing the issue of the territorial dispute, but we are also looking at ways to strengthen the relationship between Belize and Guatemala. These agreements cover such things as exchanges in education, temporary employment, driver’s licenses, and I think these are agreements that strengthen the relationship of the two countries. But more importantly, the communities along the adjacency zone. These are the communities that will feel the benefits and feel the confidence about the agreements.”

 

William Neal

“On both sides of the border, this is an emotionally charged issue. Is there any fear or how do you plan to manage it on your side of the border?”

 

Otto Perez Molina

Otto Perez Molina

“Obviously, the population along the adjacency zone will be motivated by the agreements, but we also want the Guatemalans to feel that we are forging along and we are advancing in search of stability, peace and brotherhood. All this will be reflected in the actions we are taking. The way in which these agreements are reflected in the communities along the adjacency zone will reflect the success of the agreements.”

 

William Neal

“Now on this side of the border, any issue with Guatemala gives a little bit of abrasive nature to the Belizean public. What would you like to say to them given this opportunity?”

 

Otto Perez Molina

“The way these things come about is based on tradition. We have had that friction between the two countries especially in the adjacency zone. But the message that I want to give is that we are advancing in our quest for peace to better living conditions and better economic conditions for the people of Belize and Guatemala. I know that it is difficult but by making efforts on both sides, I think by making stronger efforts, we can improve conditions for the people and that is what we want.”

 

William Neal

“One area that has gotten a lot of attention lately in Belize has been the degradation of the Chiquibul Forest and that’s one of the agreements to talk about the preservation of natural resources and the environment. Is that also an important consideration for you given the fact that that is not necessarily on the radar of most people outside of the Peten area?”

 

Otto Perez Molina

“For us the issues of the environment and natural resources are very important and the region is an area vulnerable to climate change. We have been fighting to see how we can protect our environment and natural resources in the context of sustainable development at the recent summit on climate change in Lima, Peru. The proposal that the rich countries should respond to the phenomenon of natural disasters, countries like ours that do not deplete the ozone layer, but who help have to preserve it have to ask for cooperation from the rich countries so that more can happen to preserve the environment.”

 

William Neal

“The agreements are the bones that now need flesh. How much importance and resources will be dedicated to making sure that the nuances on both sides of the border are met and that this is a process that goes forward very quickly?”

 

Otto Perez Molina

“We need more resources to implement these agreements so that the population can see the benefits of the agreements. It is a commitment that we have and I think we have the support of the international community, but beyond that, both governments have to make greater efforts with the communities along the adjacency zone, which are most affected by the territorial dispute. So I know I will make an effort, the Prime Minister will make an effort as well and jointly we can put things in place that will benefit both the Belizeans and Guatemalan people.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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3 Responses for “An Exclusive Interview with the President of Guatemala”

  1. Louisville, Ky. says:

    Good job William, proud ah yuh my Bwai!!
    Every time Guate talk bout adjacency zone, yuh stick am back with, BORDER!. Adjacency zone……BORDER!! Straight Up…Cold talk!!
    Sedi need fu listen to this interview!!

  2. Rod says:

    Ba hum bug

  3. punkgial says:

    Guatemala, need to educate everyone in that country starting from kinder garden that Belize is not for Guatemala and all the thirteen very important agreements will fall in place. Without educating the people of Guatemala there will be no peace.

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