Belize - Belize News - - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Foreign Affairs, Miscellaneous, People & Places » A Look Back at Guatemala’s Referendum Campaign
Dec 19, 2018

A Look Back at Guatemala’s Referendum Campaign

In April of this year, we covered extensively the referendum in Guatemala. And one year later Belize will be making its own historic decision on whether Guatemala’s territorial claim will be heard at the I.C.J. in The Hague. While in Guatemala this week, the local media met with a number of stakeholders, who participated in the education campaign in that neighbouring country. Here’s this latest update by News 5’s Marleni Cuellar.


When over two million Guatemalans headed to the polls in April 2018 for their referendum, it was seen as a resounding success by their government and other campaigners. It was twenty-six percent of their registered voters – which to many – hardly seems representative. But for those who were on the ground at that time, it certainly was.


Pablo Hurtado, Executive Secretary, ASIES

“In 1993, we had a popular consultation process about reforming our constitution and only thirteen percent vote and that was enough to reform our constitution.”


Pablo Hurtado is the executive Secretary of ASIES, a non-governmental think tank. In the last few months before the referendum date in Guatemala, ASIES was one of the main groups campaigning for a ‘YES’ vote.


Pablo Hurtado

Pablo Hurtado

“As you know we had a thirty-six-year internal war and our numbers on violence and security and all that are not good numbers. So for us, it was good example that the society in Guatemala are trying to change this and trying to solve the differences in the proper way.”


The think tank also employs young researchers that have a very different perspective on this issue.


Maria Fernanda Galan

Maria Fernanda Galan, Researcher, ASIES

“We don’t put as much importance to this matter. I think that we don’t have this feeling that we need to solve anything with Belize. I think it is more a millennial thing that we don’t get that pressure to solve a problem that we don’t think exists. Actually I think that most people of my age were against the referendum. They thought it was a lot of money spent in this referendum and that we had other areas where we needed to invest more money: like education, public health and that it was not really that important.”


With all the time and resources, these entities put in for a ‘YES’ vote. What are their thoughts if Belize votes ‘NO?’


Pablo Hurtado

“I think that will put Guatemala in a good position because it will show to the international community that Guatemala is willing to solve in a good way. That will change the international image that has been held. So we don’t want that, but that would put Guatemala in a very good perspective.”


The private sector was also a part of the yes campaign in Guatemala. President of CACIF, Carlos Amador, spoke of a finding a resolution. But how committed is Guatemala to respecting any potential ruling from the court?


Carlos Amador

Carlos Amador, President of CACIF

“That decision has already been taken. Guatemala said yes. The thing is Guatemala said I will agree on the ruling of this court, if we agree upon going to this court. And if it goes this way or that way, well it will be a final ruling and it will be recognized. So that question has already been answered. You insist a lot on you win; our point of view is if you have this dispute settled, both parts should win. If you approach this that someone will lose and someone will win, that’s not the spirit behind all that. Remember that the efforts of both governments have been into getting to this point.”


Marleni Cuellar

“Some eight months after their referendum, Guatemalans have shifted into holiday mode as Belizeans have back home. But they’ve already answered their question—a resounding yes to the I.C.J.; while for us, the referendum date is quickly approaching. Over the next few months, there will be many questions that Belizeans will want answered. Like the burning question: What will Guatemala claim if we go to court? Perhaps answers like those can only be found here at Palacio Nacional in Guatemala City, where President Jimmy Morales is headquartered. The only sure answer we’ve gotten from the Guatemalans is that they feel they’ve done their part. It’s now up to Belizeans to decide come April 2019. I am Marleni Cuellar reporting for News Five from Guatemala City.”

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.

Advertise Here

You must be logged in to post a comment Login