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Sep 9, 2013

Belize Territorial Volunteers met by armed Guatemalan soldiers along border

On Sunday, Wil Maheia and the Belize Territorial Volunteers headed south from Punta Gorda to the border with Guatemala. With September underway, Maheia says the group wanted to show its patriotism and highlight its sense of pride in Belize. The site chosen this time was Sarstoon Island, which lies at the mouth of the Sarstoon River and, according to Maheia, within Belizean border lines. But this time, the group was met by armed Guatemala soldiers manning the border. While there was no overt aggression, Maheia says the soldiers did venture into Belizean territory to enquire about the intent of the small Belizean group.

 

Via Phone: Wil Maheia, Belize Territorial Volunteers

Wil Maheia

“We decided to go put our flags on the island, which is right on the border line. Once we got to the island – we left Punta Gorda about eight o’clock or so in the morning and travelled south to the border – once we got to the border with our flags in hand, we noticed that a Guatemalan vessel started to come toward us, and the vessel had Guatemalan soldiers, military on it with their guns and they came right into Belize’s territory and came right up to where we were standing with our flags in hand. Basically they asked us what we were doing there – we told them this is Belize and we were in the spirit of celebration and the spirit of nationalism – they asked us if we were going to leave the flag there and we didn’t have any intention to leave the flag there because they usually remove them anyway. So we put up one flag on top of one of the tallest trees on the island and when they asked if we were going to leave our flags there we told them no and then they just kind of reversed their boat and took their boat back into Guatemalan waters and anchored right there at the border line watching our activities and after we left then they left as well. We will continue to highlight what is happening on the border and we are working on a new strategy because yes, we have brought to the attention of the nation that our borderline needs to be clean. We’ve tried to clean our borderline. But what we continue to find every time we try to clean our borderline its already clear but not clearly marked because Guatemalans have milpas, they have pastures, they have roads within our border lines so we will have to find a way to counter that and that’s what we are discussing right now…the best way to do that.”

 

The strategies under discussion by Maheia and the territorial volunteers also include destroying any Guatemalan property found within the Belizean border.

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