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Oct 16, 2012

Cooler heads prevail; tensions with Guatemala die down

Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington

Foreign Minister Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington left the country today; we caught up with him at the airport just before he boarded his flight.  Going into the weekend, it was reported that tensions were high with Guatemala which was threatening to close the borders and to oust from post, Ambassador Fred Martinez. In short, there was an imminent diplomatic crisis. The background is that Guatemalan national Francisco Quim Cab was shot and killed by Belize Defence Force personnel inside the Chiquibul forest on October fifth. Quim is the third Guatemalan national to be killed this year by the B.D.F. and the Guatemalan Foreign Minister Harold Caballeros was talking tough.  Quim’s body was transported to the Burrell Boom area early in the morning of October sixth for an autopsy, Elrington was present, but it was not until two o’clock that it was performed because the pathologist was not available. The Guatemalans have not issued a public statement but discussions have been ongoing. And according to Elrington, he spoke to Caballeros before heading to the airport and a diplomatic spat has now been averted. Guatemala, he says, is now seeking a comprehensive plan of action from the Government of Belize to avoid recurrences of armed confrontation in the Chiquibul.

 

Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“I’m very happy to say that the circumstances, in my view, have changed considerably.  Just before I left out for the airport this morning I got a call from the Guatemalan foreign minister, who told me that under no circumstances do they want to expel our ambassadors, neither are they interested in closing the border.  What they are simply asking us is to try to see whether we can come up with a proposal to try to avoid incidents of fatality when our security forces are dealing with their citizens.  When there is fatality it creates tremendous pressure upon them and their administration and, of course, nobody likes when there is fatality.  It is really not looked at kindly, so he wants us to see whether we can come up with a proposal that they can work with, can agree with to try to avoid fatalities in the future when our security forces are dealing with the Guatemalans who are coming over to do whatever they do when they come across.”

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13 Responses for “Cooler heads prevail; tensions with Guatemala die down”

  1. wendolina says:

    I am glad that we are working together to maintain order with our neighboring country. We must find and equilibrium that benefits both. We cannot afford to loose relationships with countries, much less with a country that we share borders. The conflict with Guatemala may be a disgrace, but if its within our means to create a peaceful environment for both countries we must do so.

  2. Storm says:

    No matter what Sedi says, we remain on the brink of a real crisis.

    BDF is too small and the border is too remote to secure it. We have an increasing silent invasion every day with xateros, loggers, and gold-rushers from Guatemala. The government there threatens us almost with impunity, testing GOB.

    WE MUST ADOPT A PROGRAM TO TRAIN AND EQUIP THE BORDER VILLAGES TO PATROL THEIR AREAS AND TO DEFEND THEMSELVES.

    Again I ask PM Barrow, where will you draw the line finally to defend the Jewel — Haulover Bridge? San Pedro Town? Miami?

  3. James says:

    What about our Belizeans that are killed in Melchor. We don’t hear our Foreign affairs Minister or government seeking action from the guatemalan authorities. I say let them close the boarder, it is melchor and neighboring towns in guatemala that will fee the financial lost because it is Belizeans who take our money to spend over there. I say we should go ahead a close the boarder for a week for them to see the implication on their side. They have more to lose than Belize.

  4. Lucas says:

    Earlier this month, six maya brothers were killed and about twenty more were injured, when demonstrating, by guatemalan soldiers in the area of Totonicapan Guatemala. Yes, President Molina said there would be an investigation, however, earlier this week, his administration said that soldiers along with the police would continue to provide internal security and those Maya leaders who instigated the attack against the soldiers would be arrested. In other words, Guatemalan Mayas were killed in Guatemalan territory by Guatemalan soldiers and: SO WHAT?. However, a Maya brother is killed in self defense, when attacking a Belizean soldier in belizean soil and Guatemala plays a different tune and dances to a different music. WHAT A HIPOCRITES.

  5. Vuk says:

    This imbecile makes me want to vomit continuously.

    It really seems that he loves to adopt positions that weaken Belize’s diplomatic hand out of what is, to some degree, unnecessary fear, and that does is to further embolden the Guats to push their Anti-Belizean viewpoint to whomever would listen with the purpose of making it seem that it’s a legitimate one.

    Moreover, it’s quite unfortunate that he and those of whom he works with can’t do what George Price and the PUP did in the 1970′s (I’m not fond of either the late PM or his party, but one has to give them credit where it’s due) by internationalising the case for Belize and the facts that support it. It would really help strengthen Belize’s diplomatic hand when situations of this type occur in the future.

    In light of this, he should resign.

  6. Lucas says:

    Guatemala buys from us in the thousands of dollares. We buy from Guatemala in the MILLIONS of dollares. That is not counting the dollar amount of medical, dentistry, pharmacuetical and other related services Belizeans buy from Guatemala that goes under the rader. I would love Guatemala close it’s border and see how it’s business community eat them alive when all our belizean business starts going to Honduras, Quintana Roo, Campeche and Vera Cruz.. 40% of our Belizean immigrant community are Guatemalans. I would love Guatemala close the border and see their social services go crazy when all these Guatemalans in Belize are repatraited. Because of it’s long history, Britain is a country that respects all nations but likewise,does not tolerate disrespect from any of them. If not, ask Galtierri of Argentina. It is understood that the Guatemalan vice minister of foreign affair was rude to the British Ambasador in Guatemala. I would love to know what the British Govt. response was to the Guatemalan govt. Cooler heads prevailed?. Really?. To me it looks more like someome was brought back into line.

  7. blackberry says:

    BY demanding an Ultimatum [favorable to Guatemala] from the ministry of Foreign Affairs Guatemala has if effect declared war on Belize. It is time for Belizeans to stand up for the little rights we have as Guatemala will push us into the sea as one of their Generals had said they will do. If we give into this demand another will follow until we receive a demand for 21 months to give up a portion of our territory. Guatemala has already started a propaganda war by informing certain countries and people such as Hilary Clinton. It’s time for us to begin ours by having our propaganda minister of national security make a documentary on how Guatemalans have been settling and raping our flora and fauna for generations. Or have an international TV station such as Al Jazeera do it under the cover of protecting tropical rainforest. Come on Belize let’s get out of the timid, passive mouse mode; it’s time to save Belize.

  8. Bear says:

    Every one of the posts above makes good points. I think the border should be closed both ways. Guatemala is a threatening neighbor, not a good one.

  9. rod says:

    blackberry elrington has already given away thousands of acres of land to guatemala and will continue to do it because he is an incompetent boob just like his boss barrow elrington should be in an institution for the elderly mentally handicapped instead he is put in charge of the country goes to show you the incompetence of this pm he appoints people just by their color nothing else you no have fu have no brains at tall you just have to be the right color.

  10. Pelican says:

    I know of two incidences when Guats killed belizeans as they ran across the border. Nothing came out of that.

  11. Johnny says:

    A recommendation would be that BDF should carry video cameras on patrol and use it to record any confrontation with Guatemalan’s so that there is no doubt on who threw the first stone. Should a killing happen and the camera was not used then a thorough investigation must be pursued against all soldiers involved in the confrontation, and common some high resolution cameras come as small as pencils now a days.

  12. marco says:

    But what about Guatemala. What will they do to stop the incursions? We can only do our part here but the Guatemalan governmemt need to stop act as victims

  13. UB History Student says:

    Guatemalan Minister of Foreign Affairs has no right to dictate to our Minister of Foreign Affairs. There should not be illegal access to any country, especially if both countries have tension between them. It will be very idiotic for OUR Minister of Foreign Affairs to adhere to the demand of the Guatemalan Government. I trust, and hope, that Honorable Dean Barrow and his Ministers will stand up for Belize and not subject to Guatemala’s Ideology of claiming our country Belize. Don’t be afraid because ‘FEAR’ is but a state of mind, it can be changed. We all can change the ‘Fear’ to ‘BRAVERY’.

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