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Jun 28, 2018

FCD Rangers Bust Guatemalans in Cebada

Two Guatemalan farmers from Peten were detained inside the Chiquibul National Park on Wednesday. Friends for Conservation and Development and Belize Defense Force personnel were on a patrol to document human footprint in the area of Cebada in the southern Chiquibul National Park, when they came across two farmers with two horses about two point seven kilometers inside Belizean territory.  According to the FCD, the men were aware that they were on Belizean territory and claimed to have been farming in the area for the past eight years. They were detained and taken to the San Ignacio Police Station where they await charges of illegal entry and illegal cultivation.  Cebada was identified as a hotspot since 2007 when FCD started to co-manage the area.  It has been difficult to maintain a steady patrol programme because the area is remote, but the FCD believes that is bound to change as a result of the newly installed South Cebada Conservation Post. News Five spoke via phone today with Executive Director Rafael Manzanero.

 

On the Phone: Rafael Manzanero, Executive Director, FCD

“They were two Guatemalan farmers; Benigno Oroman Perez who is forty-two-years-old and the other person is Elder Danilo Oroman Perez who is seventeen-years-old. Both of them are from Las Brisas de Chiquibul that is in the Peten area of Guatemala. They apparently have been using those lands for the eight years, so they have been planting there consecutively over the years in terms of crops such as corn in that zone. Now, that is basically some two point seven kilometers inside Belizean territory in the Chiquibul National Park. The Cebada area has been documented as a key hotspot area over the years and as a result of that, we had been recommending a conservation post in that area and that is how it just happened a couple of days ago with the institution of that one in southern Chiquibul. So, having that access point provides us with the ability to function, along with the B.D.F., Police and Forest Department, in terms of running patrols consecutively in that area. In reality, we had already been doing some of the patrols but it was not really as frequent. In the dry season, we had normally done about two patrols in the area, but I must say that in many of those patrols we normally did not really reach so far because of a couple of reasons; in many of the patrols we were already detecting people before reaching that point – so in the past we had detained some people in that area. So before reaching way down that zone we were already looking at human footprint. But now it is going to be much more frequent the patrols.”

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