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Aug 4, 2017

Can Taiwan-Funded Guatemala Road Help Belize?

Alexis Rosado

Guatemala, with significant financial assistance from the government of Taiwan, is proceeding with the construction of a road that will span the length of that country all the way to Puerto Barrios.  The cost of the infrastructure project is an estimated six hundred and fifty million U.S. dollars, monies which have been granted and loaned to Guatemala.  But what bearing, if any, will the building of that new road have on Belize and its often rocky relationship with its Central American neighbor?  That’s the question that was posed to Ambassador Alexis Rosado earlier today.  While he stayed away from conjecture, Rosado acknowledges that there are considerable development projects underway in Guatemala, as well as other countries within Central America.

 

Alexis Rosado, Belize’s Ambassador to Guatemala

“Look, I don’t want to speculate too much in relation to that road and the Guatemalan claim on Belize.  My own view is that in the world that we live in today, we’re talking about connectivity; connectivity generally, with technology, with infrastructure and so forth, and this is just another example of countries, here in Belize you see a lot of investment in infrastructure, roads and so forth.  Guatemala, Central America are doing the same thing.  Over the past fifteen, twenty years, Central America has been concentrating on their Pacific corridor, improving the road network from Guatemala, really from Mexico down to Panama.  And another huge project they have is the Atlantic corridor, something that is still on the table and something to which we had wanted initially to join.  We didn’t attend a few meetings so we never became a part of it but still, it is an eventuality that should we wish to benefit from trade, commerce, investment and so forth, we have to be connected.  So sooner or later, we could either miss the boat or the boat will continue moving.  I think what Guatemala is doing in this case is that they are improving their networks of roads.  It’s not that the road wasn’t there, it was always there.  What they are doing is that they are improving it and good for them, they have two ports on their Atlantic Coast, Puerto Barrios and Santo Tomas.  It should be good for their business.  To what extent do we use it as an opportunity or as a threat, that is something that should be left up to us.”

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