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May 9, 2002

NABR expresses fears re: settlement

Belize and Guatemala may be as close as they’ve ever been to settling the nearly century and a half old claim to Belizean territory…but you’d never know it by the silence displayed by the politicians and media. That silence was broken today by NABR, the National Alliance for Belizean Rights in a press release issued by the party secretariat. NABR’s birth and mission has always revolved around the issue of national sovereignty, specifically with regard to the Guatemalan claim…and today the release let it be known that despite the party’s lack of electoral success, its leaders are prepared to vocally oppose any settlement that gives up land or sea. NABR’s Secretary General, Gilda Lewis, declined an on camera interview saying that as a member of the National Advisory Council it would be inappropriate for her to speak on matters of confidence. But other NABR officials have privately expressed concern to News 5 that politicians of both major parties may come under pressure to support a settlement that may not be in the nation’s best interest. A precise date has still not been set for the presentation by the two facilitators in Washington, and observers suspect that the delay may be caused by reasons other than the scheduling difficulties of O.A.S. Secretary General Cesar Gaviria. While no details of the proposed settlement have been made public, sources across the border indicate that the Guatemalan government is pressing for a solution that may involve a land swap, with some Belizean territory going to Guatemala…in exchange for an equal amount of Guatemalan land being ceded to Belize. While such a proposal might make mathematical sense, it has very little appeal in the real world of the twenty-first century geopolitics. In related news, NABR says it intends to field a large slate of candidates in next year’s municipal and general elections.

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