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Jun 7, 2016

Has Belize’s Rhetoric in Guatemalan Discussions Changed?

Wilfred Elrington

Against the backdrop of everything happening in diplomatic halls and in the Sarstoon, has Belize’s rhetoric changed somewhat? For months all Belizeans heard out of meetings between countries was talk of peace and love and warm, happy friendship. But recently we’ve heard even Prime Minister Dean Barrow express anger and distress with what appears to be a disingenuous approach to talks by Guatemala. And that, followed by the very strong comments by Gaspar Vega in Cuba. Today Elrington told us that they’ve always been strong, but notwithstanding that Guatemala is our friend.


Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“This is an issue that I have been dealing with; Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been dealing with it, continuously. The whole question of Guatemalans coming across into Belize, I dealt with that in details at the UN some years ago. So it is not anything that we don’t keep on talking about. There is a perception in Belize you know, in my view, there is a perception in Belize that if you are war-like, if you are bellicose, if you are violent, if you express yourself in forceful and violent terms that you are doing well for your country, you are really now standing up for your country because yeah you…but in truth in and fact, small countries that don’t have any defense capability really and who don’t have any defense agreement, can’t afford to be bellicose. The last thing that we can do is to behave as if we are big and bad. That gets people upset, it gets people angry and if they take us on seriously, we can’t defend ourselves. So small countries have to be diplomatic, we have to be cerebral. We have to use your brain as opposed to your brawn because you don’t have brawn. And so that is how we proceed with this matter—quietly, softly, we do diplomatic work and we get the results from it. We don’t see the Guatemalans as enemies. We have a problem with them over their claim to our country, which they inherited and which we inherited. But ideally we need to separate that claim from the rest of our relationship.”

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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1 Response for “Has Belize’s Rhetoric in Guatemalan Discussions Changed?”

  1. Manuel Pinto says:

    El tratado de 185, en su artículo I, establece que el río Sarstún es el límite sur de Belice, o sea es el límite únicamente de Belice, porque de Guatemala es parte de su territorio. El tratado de 1859, no le otorga derecho de navegación a Belice, el tratado de 1859, no le concede soberanía a Belice sobre ninguna parte del río Sarstún, el río Sarstún es territorio guatemalteco. El artículo VI del tratado de 1859, no se puede aplicar en el caso del río Sarstún, porque se refiere a los canales e islas situadas frente a las costas de Belice. El artículo VI del tratado de 1859 regula: Se establece la libre navegación en los canales que forman la línea de agua divisoria de los límites, así como la asignación de islas en esos canales. Esta claro que se refiere a los límites marítimos, no es aplicable al río Sarstún el río Sarstún no tiene canales, como tampoco tiene islas. Si tienen duda lean los tratados y seguimos comentando.

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