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Aug 25, 2016

Border Tensions Eased Down After Guatemalans’ Mass Deployment

The international campaign that the Guatemalan government launched against the B.D.F. and Belize requires skilful diplomatic work to undo any eroding of Belize’s credibility.  Guatemala assumed the role of the aggressed painting Belize as the aggressor.  There were heightened tensions along the border points where Guatemalan troops were beefed up in the west as well as the Sarstoon in the south. According to Commander Jones, he maintained his calm and given the facts that were before him even back then, he made his move based on assessment and not impulse or haste.

 

Brig. Gen. David Jones, Commander, B.D.F.

“Unfortunately after that incident occurred, there were deployments of Guatemalan armed forces along the border; I suspect that it was because of emotions and also I suspect because they believed that they had a right to protect their citizens; they believed that we were hunting their citizens. In other words, they deployed their soldiers to protect their people. People can take that otherwise as a buildup of forces. I wasn’t concerned about it because I knew that the response wasn’t the adequate one; it showed that it’s not good to make drastic measures based on emotions. It is best that you know what the facts are before you move. And that was the stance that we took. We were sure that we acted in self-defense and we acted in accordance with how our soldiers have been trained and they did the right thing and they did an exemplary job.”

 

David Jones

Duane Moody

“So definitely tensions there have been diffused, you would say?”

 

Brig. Gen. David Jones

“Well the relationship that we have maintained afterwards with the Guatemalan military has been cordial. It has actually improved in particular the area of the Sarstoon where we are not having any tensions at the moment with the Guatemalan army, which is good. They are a professional army as we are and as professionals we get along well. The problem is at the diplomatic level what the politicians will do because what happens at the diplomatic level will filter down to the military. But we as professionals are getting along fine and it is now up to the diplomats. We will now have to wait and see how the Guatemalans will treat the results of the investigation.”

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