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May 29, 2018

B.D.F. Investigating Illegal Incursions in Dolores, Otoxha

The Ministry of National Security has deployed Belize Defence Force soldiers to areas in southern Belize to investigate reports of Guatemalans cutting down forest areas for illegal farming.  According to a release issued by the ministry, villagers in Otoxha reported that they came across several areas within Belize that appeared to have been cleared by Guatemalan farmers. The Ministry says that the B.D.F. is working with alcaldes and monitoring the situation. The release notes that, “Where these activities are discovered within the adjacency zone the ministry, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, works with the O.A.S.to conduct verification and subsequently destroy any illegal farming that is discovered. Where these discoveries are east of the border and not within the adjacency zone they are destroyed immediately.” The Ministry of National Security says that any illegal clearing or farming must be reported to the B.D.F. for action to be taken. For context, here is video footage provided by Plus TV documenting what the locals are saying in southern Belize about the incursions.

 

Santiago Peck

Santiago Peck, Alcalde, Otoxha

“Thursday, he is saying they went at the site and they pass the Termash River. And right there, as they cross that, they found a small hut where the Guatemalans are staying.”

 

Reporter

“Is it on the Belize side?”

 

Santiago Peck

“It is on the Belize lands.  What he really wants, now that you people are here now, he hopes that somehow this can bring the Belize Defense Force to go and check the place that the Guatemalans are in.”

 

Wil Maheia

Wil Maheia, Belize Territorial Volunteer

“We are here in the Dolores-Otoxha area right on the Guatemalan Border. We, the Territorial Volunteers, got a call about Guatemalans coming into Belize land and clearing. So, we decided to make the journey to come up here and to see the actual clearing ourselves. The people from these villages are afraid that when we leave from here, the people who are clearing this land think that they are reporting them and so the people in the nighttime can come here and probably harass them and actually threaten them at night to actually kill them. So, the people are very afraid to show their faces because of the threats coming from Guatemalans. The Guatemalans are really bullying the people in these border villages and the people here they know their border line, they know where it is at and they know when the Guatemalans cross into the Belize territory. So, it is very important that the Government address this issue.”

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