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Nov 2, 2015

Leaked B.D.F. Report – Escalation in Guatemalan Aggression Towards B.D.F. in the Sarstoon

Confidential documents show that the aggression by the Guatemalan army and navy started years ago, but intensified dangerously and persistently so since 2010, to the point where the Guatemalans were exercising sovereignty over the Sarstoon. A memo from the Belize Defense Force to the C.E.O. in the Ministry of National Security, dated as recent as October twenty-second 2015, speaks of the aggression in a threat assessment of the Sarstoon River Mouth. Information contained in the document signed by Major R. Beltran, had never been known, but it is reported that the aggression towards the B.D.F. would take place while the B.D.F. is conducting changeovers at the Cadenas station. The encounters with the Guatemalan army started in 2003 and continued through 2004 and 2005. However, in 2006, the Guatemalans became aggressive but in 2007, that subsided because measures were put in place between the armies of both countries to lessen the tensions at the Sarstoon.  Those measures served well through 2008, but in 2009, the Guatemalan became hostile. Specifically, on November second, 2009, the B.D.F. reported that they encountered a forty-foot Guatemalan army vessel anchored at the mouth of the Sarstoon River which appeared to be inside Belizeans territorial waters.  The B.D.F. also reports that a Guatemalan flag was seen flying from a tree on the Sarstoon Island. The flag was removed by the army insisted they would place it back. There was another incident on December fifteenth, 2009. The Guatemalans attempted to stop a B.D.F. patrol using the southern channel in the Sarstoon. The Guatemalan army told the B.D.F. that they had orders from their superiors and after a discussion, the B.D.F. was allowed passage.  The report goes on to speak about the escalation in aggression and in 2010, there were increased encounters. There are other incidents named as recent as the eleventh and twenty-fifth august. Now, the confidential memo speaks of a meeting on August twenty-fifth at which the Guatemalan delegation told the B.D.F. that they were doing them a courtesy by allowing them to use the river to access Cadenas and were in the process of verifying if that privilege would be taken away from the B.D.F.  The B.D.F. also reports that there are two main bases for the Guatemalan army and navy; one at the pacific naval base near Santa Rosa and the other is at the Caribbean Naval Base in Santo Tomas de Castillo. Combined there are about sixty-five Guatemalan vessels used to patrol the area. The concern to the security forces is the aggressive approach that the Guatemalans are now using against the B.D.F.  The B.D.F. also speaks of potential for conflict which would be undesirable because of the fragile territorial dispute. They further recommend video recordings of the encounters with the Guatemalan. Earlier today, we asked the former Foreign Minister, Eamon Courtenay to comment of what happened during his term in government.


Eamon Courtenay

Eamon Courtenay, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs

“We have two issues there.  One is the question of confidentiality of issues and the second is how they are managed.  We say when it comes to competence, when it comes to experience, when it comes to expertise on the issue we are far better than the Guatemalans.  Now you may fault us and you may say we should have made these public back in 2006 and 2007 and I am prepared to listen to that and we can agree to disagree on that.  But I am speaking about competence in terms of management of the issues and I don’t care which leaked document you have, there is never going to be a leaked document where the People’s United Party tolerates aggression by the Guatemalans.  And what I want to point out is here you have the UDP who has yet to respond to the last diplomatic note from the Guatemalans when they in fact tell us that they do not recognize our borders.  It is that type of thing, here it is they allow the Guatemalan navy to in effect chase them out of the Sarstoon, out of our territorial waters and they do nothing about it.  I don’t want to get bogged down into whether we should have disclosed something in 2007 because we are in 2015 and the question in 2015 is what is happening now and who is best to carry it forward after the election.  That is the issue.  All delicate negotiations, all sensitive national security issues require a certain level of confidentiality and in some cases secrecy, yes.  Whether you are now telling me that something ought to have been made public in 2006 and 2007, I’m prepared to look at it, I’m prepared to look at it.  The issue is this what is the public’s position of the different political parties.”


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3 Responses for “Leaked B.D.F. Report – Escalation in Guatemalan Aggression Towards B.D.F. in the Sarstoon”

  1. Firewalker says:

    I am glad the British are there. Maybe they can show the Belizeans where their border is. Just saying

  2. Karl says:

    BDF needs a serious patrol craft, at least two. The last encounter between our navy and them, observed by all, (a game of chicken) shows this need. Our military as a whole is horribly out class and neglected to say the least. Here, we have another country, that openly flaunts their treat to our country, and we talk softly and carry a small stick. We cannot expect our military to do their job, without the right equipment. Its suicide. Remember neglect creates more confusion.

    May I present an equalizer.

  3. Marb says:

    At this point of time we should all know how Guatemalans are, “trespassers” you give them an inch and they take a mile. I know Our Soldiers fear for their lives. These people kill you cold blooded. I do hope things get settled and they get the message the Belize does not belong to them and We never Will! So! back off Guatemala!!!!!!!!!

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