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Jan 13, 2016

News Five Speaks to Guatemalan FM on Eve of Presidential Inauguration

In less than twenty-four hours, Jimmy Morales will assume office as the new president of Guatemala. It’s an important event for Belize because of that country’s unfounded territorial claim to the country. Tonight, we begin our coverage of that event with a one-on-one interview by Marleni Cuellar with the Foreign Minister of Guatemala, Carlos Raul Morales at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Guatemala City. He makes candid statements on issues that have incensed Belizeans. Here’s a report by Marleni Cuellar.

 

Marleni Cuellar

“I’m here reporting from a very cool Guatemala City where we initiate Channel Five’s coverage of the Transmisión del Mando Presidencial; the presidential handing over or the inauguration of President Jimmy Morales. That takes place on Thursday, tomorrow, and we’ll have extended coverage of that particular event. However, since we are here, we took the opportunity to sit down with Foreign Minister Carlos Raul Morales. Of course there have been several issues that have been part of the national conversation when it comes to the Belize/Guatemala issue. It was persistent through 2015 and it really is an opportunity to be able to find out what the new mandate of this president will entail and what him carrying on his position will mean. So as I am alluding to, he has been asked by President Morales to continue as Foreign Minister but it is not secured as yet as Foreign Minister Morales explains to me.”

 

Jimmy Morales

Carlos Raul Morales, Foreign Minister, Guatemala

“President Morales already offered to me to continue in the position. I have to make a very important decision, a personal decision, because the Secretary General of the O.A.S. offered to me a very important position in Washington and I have to talk to my wife and my family to make a final decision. But it is a high privilege to receive the offer of President Morales, of the new president of Guatemala to continue here. As you know, I am diplomat; I’ve been working in this ministry since 1989…it is almost twenty-seven years. It is a high privilege, but I have to talk to my family to take a final decision on that issue.”

 

Marleni Cuellar

“In the ending of 2015, we saw the election of President Jimmy Morales. One of the issues that immediately became of concern to Belizeans was a video of him giving a speech, speaking specifically about the Belize issue. I got the opportunity to ask the Foreign Minister to comment on that particular issue and his answer you may find a bit surprising.”

 

Marleni Cuellar

Carlos Raul Morales

“The media manipulated the video. I can show you the original video where President Morales said the constitution of Guatemala in 1965 said that Belize was part of Guatemala. And someone, I don’t know who, cut the video and then President Morales appeared saying Belize is part of Guatemala. But the whole video said in the constitution of Guatemala in 1965 Belize is part of Guatemala.”

 

Marleni Cuellar

“So the video was manipulated?”

 

Carlos Raul Morales

“Yes, definitely.”

 

Marleni Cuellar

“And you would provide that for to us for us to see?”

 

Carlos Raul Morales

Carlos Raul Morales

“Yes, I can ask to the office of president Morales to prove that.”

 

Marleni Cuellar

“One of the most important issues for Belizeans is understanding the position of Guatemala when it comes to the Belize issue and how much of a priority this issue is for their new president and his government. We found that out in our interview earlier today as well.”

 

Carlos Raul Morales

“In this issue, I talked long with President Jimmy Morales and I explained to him how we’ve been dealing in the past; the agreement we have with Belize. And he supports me. He support that we need to go to the International Court of Justice to solve our differendum. He supports the agreements we signed in 2014 in Placencia—the bilateral agreements. And he supports that we need to live as good neighbors, as a very good neighbors, as good countries; that our populations have to have better relations and we are going to work in that position.”

 

Marleni Cuellar

“So the incoming president, Jimmy Morales, does support going to the ICJ—Guatemala’s position from before?”

 

Carlos Raul Morales

“This is an agreement, this is a commitment of both persons; it is not the commitment of one person. This is a commitment of the state of Guatemala and it’s a commitment of the state of Belize. The president is just for four years and he will leave the government of Guatemala, but he has to respect the commitments of the state.”

 

Marleni Cuellar

“In the end of 2015, the much demanded Forward Operating Base at the Sarstoon was inaugurated. It was inaugurated on the banks of the Sarstoon and not on the Sarstoon Island as we were first informed. Now, there was an issue of protest notes or a specific reaction from Guatemala on the building or construction of the Forward Operating Base on the Sarstoon Island. So I asked Foreign Minister Morales the Guatemalan perspective on this issue.”

 

Carlos Raul Morales

“According to the legal position of Belize, the Sarstoon River belongs to both countries. And according to the legal position of Guatemala, the Sarstoon River belongs to Guatemala. This is part of the claim and the ICJ has to solve this claim. What we have today is a very good agreement with Belize about the situation. We are not going to fight because of the river; we are not going to create more problems, more tension. We are not going to have more incidents because of the river. Belize decided to build a base at the end of the river that is in the territory that Belize’s administration and we respect that because Guatemala already recognize that that territory is under the administration of Belize until the ICJ decides what will happen.”

 

Marleni Cuellar

“Did Guatemala submit any protest or object to the Forward Operating Base being built on the island in the river?”

 

Carlos Raul Morales

“Yes, definitely because we agreed with Minister Elrington that there is a small piece of land and Marleni it doesn’t make sense to have a big problem because of this piece of land; this island. But we decided with Minister Elrington is to leave it that the birds and the crocodile and the trees live in the island. There is not any reason. We have enough land in Guatemala and in Belize to build an operating base and Guatemala respects this agreement and I think this is a very smart agreement. Let the ICJ decide who will belong the island.”

 

Marleni Cuellar

“Our interview with Guatemalan Foreign Minister Carlos Raul Morales covered many more topics. However to be able to see the full interview you can tune into Open Your Eyes on Thursday morning and here his perspective on the timeline for the referendums and also regional issues like the Cuban migrants. So tune in to that. Reporting from Guatemala City for News Five, I’m Marleni Cuellar.”

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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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1 Response for “News Five Speaks to Guatemalan FM on Eve of Presidential Inauguration”

  1. Gaspari cordova says:

    If my uncle Telesforo Guerra was alive he would have been there at the inaugural of the new president.

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