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Jun 25, 2021

U.S. Has Not Taken Sides in Belize-Guatemala Dispute

We also asked Keith Gilges for his views on the territorial dispute between Belize and Guatemala currently before the International Court of Justice.  


Paul Lopez

“The U.S .has relations with Both Belize and Guatemala, two nations in dispute over territory. What has been the U.S.’s involvement in this dispute, particularly where the referendum is concerned?”


Keith Gilges

Keith Gilges, Chargé d’Affaires, U.S. Embassy in Belize

“The U.S. role back in pre-2008, aligned with the other friends of Belize and Guatemala was to come together and say let’s find a path forward. Because, it was in the interest of both Belize and Guatemala to have this issue resolved, frankly so that there can be deeper ties across, some call it the Adjacency Zone, some would call it the border. Our role at that time was to help bring the parties together to an agreed upon framework. That framework led to each country having referendum in which they would choose to go to the I.C.J. or not. When I arrived, we were in the run up to the referendum. So, I got here in July of 2018 just when things were starting to ramp up. And the role we played there was education. We did not take sides. We said, here are the facts, here is what you need to know. We provided money to civil society to go out and give information, not yes or now, but about here is the process. We sponsored a trip to journalist to go to the Hague and see; here is what the I.C.J. at the Hague looks like. Talk to the people at the Hague, talk to the experts, and bring that information back. We didn’t say what anybody was going to say and we certainly didn’t say what anybody was going to report. We said, there is the information, go get it and supply it so that the Belizean people can make a decision on whether or not to go to the I.C.J. on the facts, not on fear. And I think that ended up being the result. Fifty five percent of Belizeans said yes lets go to the I.C.J.”

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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