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Apr 13, 2018

Can Belize Count on Yes Vote in Guatemala?

On Sunday, Guatemalans head to the polls to cast their vote in a referendum. It is part one of a process that could lead both Guatemala and Belize to settle a longstanding territorial dispute at the International Court of Justice. There was an amendment to the 2008 Special Agreement in 2015 which allowed Guatemala to proceed with its referendum independently of Belize. It came after a planned simultaneous referendum in 2013 had to be scrapped. Of course since then, there has been a number of incidents along the borders which have caused some Belizeans to take a more hard-line stance on Guatemala. So, is a yes vote guaranteed on Sunday or when Belize goes to the polls? This week, Ambassador James Murphy, a diplomat who has been working on the issue for some time, said even he is not sure.

 

James Murphy

Ambassador James Murphy

“I think the Guatemalans have irritated a lot of people; and people’s thinking seems to be, “we’re not going to cooperate with them; if they want to go to court, mek dehn go da court.”

 

Cesar Ross, Lecturer, University of Belize

“You can’t trust them anymore; you can’t trust Guatemala anymore.”

 

James Murphy

“I’m not saying you’ll get a yes vote; all I’m saying is I’m not sure.”

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