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Mar 8, 2016

Guatemalan Shot in the Chiquibul

Dean Barrow

There was an altercation in the Chiquibul last Thursday which resulted in the B.D.F. shooting a Guatemalan in the leg. Belize Defense Force and Friends for Conservation and Development rangers were about six hundred meters from the Belize/Guatemalan border when they came upon a marijuana plantation, guarded by two men. One of those men, Francisco Torres Sucup, allegedly came at the men with a firearm and was shot. A second Guatemalan, Luis Diaz Alballeros, ran with a shotgun in his hand and was apprehended. Guatemalans encroaching in the Chiquibul is an everyday thing, but against the backdrop of an incident recently in the Sarstoon where Belizeans were denied entry, could it generate official hostilities? Prime Minister Barrow told us that it’s unlikely.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“These Guatemalans were found in a marijuana field on our side of the border; that when they were accosted, they opened fire and the patrol returned fire and one was shot and the other was apprehended. Last I heard, the wounded person and the detainee were being brought to a point where certainly the wounded man could receive medical treatment and of course be charged, both of them. That’s as far as I know.”

 

Reporter

“Are you concerned that this will ramp up hostilities being that coming right on the heels of our complaint about Sarstoon and now a Guatemalan is shot in Chiquibul? A perversed interpreter could say that well unu do it sake ah that.”

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“There’s always that fear, but I think the Guatemalans know that there is a distinction to be made between our side of the border and that whole Chiquibul biosphere and the Sarstoon. While you never know from one moment to the next how much of Belize they are claiming, there are confidence building measures, the protocols, that government what happens on the ground. There are no such facilities, no such arrangements with respect to the Chiquibul and that’s the distinction. They, the Guatemalans, must also be aware of what’s happening in the Chiquibul and know that in terms of the security patrols, there’s always the possibility that something such as happened last week will happen. I can’t rule out the possibility completely of people over there trying to make that connection that you suggested they might want to make. But I would feel pretty confident that those really in charge will immediately appreciate the distinction between the Chiquibul and the Sarstoon.”

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