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May 6, 2016

Belize & Guatemalan Ombudsmen Discuss Chiquibul Incident

There are still few details on a meeting in Washington between the Foreign Ministers of Belize, Guatemala and the O.A.S. Secretary General. All we know is that there was a meeting which should have discussed the situation at the Sarstoon. But there is another meeting that was held this week at the O.A.S. Office inside the Adjacency Zone between the Ombudsmen from Belize and Guatemala earlier this week. On Wednesday, Lionel Arzu and other representatives from Belize discussed with Jorge De Leon Duque the shooting death of thirteen year old Julio Alvarado Ruano inside the Chiquibul on Holy Saturday. Today, Arzu provided some details of that meeting.


Lionel Arzu, Ombudsman
“We both agreed that our institutions are advocates of human rights and we do not shy away from that. I also expressed condolences to the Guatemalan members about the loss of life of the minor. His name is Julio Rene Alvarado. The meeting focused around the incident that involved the B.D.F. and the minor who lost his life. We also mentioned to the Guatemalans that the O.A.S. will do their investigation to see where the merit and demerit of the incident and that where the chips fall thereafter, let it fall. But it will be too premature for us to pick sides and point figures as it relates to the entire incident. Belize wants to be a good member to the Guatemalans, but that the Guatemalans also have a responsibility to make sure that their citizens are okay on their side of the border. And so the meeting centered around those things.”


Lionel Arzu

Duane Moody

“Does it bring to the fore what that minor was doing well inside Belizean territory late at night? What was he doing there and did that come up in the discussions?”


Lionel Arzu

“That did not come up in the discussion. What the Guatemalan members were focusing on is this is a minor, apparently or supposedly not trained against a well trained military force, mentioning the Belize Defense Force. I told them there is also a perception from the Belize side that many of the Guatemalans on the adjacency zone or area are former either police or military people with some level of training as relate to the activities there. But we didn’t stretch that because I think the important thing here was to tell them that every life lost in these incidents are one too much. So we expect that the investigation will be thorough and whatever the outcome, both sides will be looking at it from a very objective point of view.”

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