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Apr 29, 2016

Guatemala’s Sovereignty over Sarstoon River Concerns Maya Communities

As we’ve mentioned in our previous newscast, the immediate effects of the present situation at the Sarstoon are being felt by the indigenous communities within the vicinity.  The Garifuna village of Barranco, as well as several Maya communities along the southern border have expressed serious concerns about the existing state of affairs.  Frankly, there is a degree of uncertainty among residents of those communities.  According to MLA Program Coordinator Pablo Mis, the issue goes beyond simply demarcating the boundary.


Pablo Mis, Program Coordinator, MLA

Pablo Mis

“It’s of course of paramount concern to the communities, the Maya communities along the border.  The rising tension that we see is evidence of the cumulative actions that has been created as a result of the unfounded claim of Belize’s territory.  Measures that are being put in place to resolve this claim is one that needs to go beyond the scope of merely defining a borderline.  We have to keep in mind that along these borders, communities find themselves, indigenous communities whose very existence, their very identity is rooted in their ability to be free and to be able to traverse their lands without any fear and without any acts of intimidation from any parties.  In that light then, it must be considered that the decisions and the actions that are done by governments and by citizens of both nations do have consequences on the day to day existence of communities on the ground.  I must say that the communities along the border there have expressed a great level of uncertainty, a great level of discomfort, a lack of freedom to really be on those lands.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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