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Apr 18, 2018

Extent of Guatemalan Claim a Matter for I.C.J., Guat Foreign Minister Proposes

Exactly what does Guatemala claim of Belize? We’ve all heard the differing stories – the whole of Belize’s eight thousand plus square miles of territory; or only that portion south of the Sibun River which includes most of Cayo, Stann Creek and Toledo Districts, covering twelve thousand square kilometers. The figures alone sound scary, but pressed to delimit exactly what Guatemala is asking for if the claim goes to the International Court of Justice, Guatemalan Foreign Affairs Minister Sandra Jovel Polanco chose not to. She instead advises that Belize’s education campaign should focus on why the claim must go to the I.C.J., not what exactly it is.


Sandra Jovel Polanco

Sandra Jovel Polanco, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Guatemala (Translated)

“What we did here in Guatemala in educating the people as to the process and why we should go to a court, would also be a way in which Belize could carry out its education campaign. The Guatemalans voted for the International Court of Justice to make that decision. My recommendation is for Belize to do the same, for the Court to give that legal certainty.”


Marleni Cuellar

“We’ve seen maps that have been a part of the campaign period, that shows a claim by Guatemala of twelve thousand square kilometers. Is that a part of what was being informed to the Guatemalan people?”


Sandra Jovel Polanco

“The educational campaign that took place in the fifteen districts that we visited, out of the twenty-two that took part, indicated that it is the International Court of Justice that will decide the border limits between the two countries. The people of Guatemala know this, and that was part of the education campaign. This was my role on the tour, to inform the people that it will be the Court that will decide. We will now start a process, based on the Special Agreement, that will validate this.”

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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