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Jan 23, 2015

FCD Exec Says Chiquibul is Quiet

Rafael Manzanero

It’s been some time since we’ve received an update on movements, local and illegal, within the Chiquibul. Late last year we talked about nothing but that after Special Constable Danny Conorquie was gunned down by Guatemalans at the Caracol Archaeological Site. His death galvanized stakeholders, and tonight we are happy to report that the positive movement continues. Today we spoke to Executive Director of Friends for Conservation and Development Rafael Manzanero, who has been a tireless advocate for more attention on and presence in the Chiquibul.

 

Rafael Manzanero, Executive Director, FCD

“The Valentin observation post is already up and that was built inside of the Caracol Archaeological Reserve, where for quite some weeks now there has been a presence from the Belize Defence force and the Police, so that is already operational. The other two…a lot of groundwork has been done in terms of finding the right location for these particular two conservation posts. The Government of Belize since last year has already approved the construction of those, but it has been rather difficult to find water in those areas which is really the essential part, so we have had to go two, three times to look at these locations along with the B.D.F. to identify where best to put these particular buildings. I would hope with the dry weather coming in now we will be able to finalize that particular phase of the work.  I think that the presence of the B.D.F. would seem to have done a lot of positive work in the area. Certainly in the Caracol area there has been a lot of movement of security into the zone. We are preparing right now to launch patrols from the ranger side to go into some of the most remote areas of the Chiquibul. We have not been really active over the past couple weeks because of the training program and because of the screening for the new rangers, but from what we have gathered it would seem that the forest is quiet for now.”

 

Manzanero says that apart from the enhanced presence of the military, it is possible that the new agreements between Belize and Guatemala have something to do with what seems to be reduced illegal traffic coming in from Guatemala.

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