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Nov 10, 2000

Guatemala disputes Belize version of evictions

While this week’s signing of an agreement to defuse border tensions between Belize and Guatemala appears to be a step forward, a quick read of the Guatemalan newspapers shows just how wide a gap remains in the perception of the respective parties. Several weeks ago we reported on an incident in which soldiers of the Belize Defence Force removed a Guatemalan flag which was flying over an illegal settlement of Guatemalans on the Belize side of the border in Toledo. Yet in a recent issue of Prensa Libre, quoted in the Reporter newspaper, we discover that according to the Guatemalan government, the settlement was firmly planted on Guatemalan soil and when Belizean authorities realised their error, they immediately returned the flag to the Guatemalan embassy, where it was promptly hand carried to the fatherland and presented to the Minister of Defence in a well publicized ceremony. We were unable to contact officials from either government for comment, but strongly suspect that this will not be the last such difference of opinion we will have to report.

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