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May 9, 2022

Mexican President Visits Belize; Multiple Agreements Signed

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is on his return to Mexico, following a tour of several Central American countries and Cuba. The Mexican president met with government leaders from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Belize before heading to Havana. His shortest stop along the tour was here in Belize where he spent a little under four hours. He met with Prime Minister John Briceño, as well as ministers and C.E.O.s, and settled agreements on trade, education, agriculture, infrastructure, and transport, and plans on the Central American conference on migration. News Five’s Duane Moody reports. 


Duane Moody, Reporting

Just before midday on Saturday, the official aircraft carrying Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador touched down at the Philip Goldson International Airport.  He was welcomed onto Belizean soil before being escorted to the Laing Building in Belize City for a meeting with Prime Minister John Briceño and other Government Ministers and C.E.O.s. In an effort to expand and strengthen ties between both countries, President Obrador and PM Briceño signed off on numerous agreements. The goal is to help with the high level of poverty in Belize.


John Briceño

Prime Minister John Briceño

“All these programs that Mexico is offering us in Belize is assisting us in fighting poverty. We know that poverty continues to be one of the biggest social problems that we have or challenges that we have in Belize. Because of the pandemic, poverty went up as high as sixty percent. You do not get someone out of poverty by giving them a check. You get them out of poverty by creating opportunities, but putting them to work and to find markets for the products that they produce.”


Belize and Mexico have enjoyed diplomatic relations for over forty years. In his official statement following the meeting, the Mexican President spoke of cooperation in areas such as education, food security and more.


Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, President of Mexico [Translated]

“From educational and cultural exchanges, to information, taxation, the preservation of archaeological zones, the protection and improvement of the environment from scientific and technical cooperation to air transport, from energy cooperation to the defense of the consumer, from navigation in territorial waters, even social security health campaigns, public security.”


Aside from PM Briceño’s request to have Belize benefit from Mexico’s “Tren Maya” program, Belize will also be able to export agricultural produce to Mexico tax-free.


Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador [Translated]

“After many years, we have once again declared a tax-free zone for Chetumal along the entire border with Belize. And also in addition to trade, tourism is flourishing along the Caribbean beaches and the natural and archeological sites of our two countries. Likewise, Belize will benefit from the Mayan train. Mexico surpasses its advances in products that Belize can export to our country. In other words, it will be possible to export food, agricultural products, beef and other basic foodstuffs to Mexico from Belize without paying taxes, tariffs are suspended.”


Prime Minister John Briceño

“By removing these taxes into Mexico, it will give our Belizeans farmers an opportunity to compete. I can remember for many years when we were in government from 1998 to 2008, we worked very hard to be able to export rice into Mexico, but we were never successful in that. But with the opportunities that the president is giving us today, we will be able to export rice, cattle, shrimp fish, corn beans, many products that they need to eat in Mexico. This is going to be a game changer – not only for the farmers but for us as a country – that we are able to export all these products.”


A letter of intent was also signed between Foreign Affairs Ministers Eamon Courtenay and Marcelo Ebrard Casaubon for the implementation of the Sowing Life in Belize which will benefit approximately two thousand rural producers with training and implementation of agro-silvopastoral production systems that incorporate trees and crops into livestock industry. This will boost food security and job creation.


Prime Minister John Briceño

“This is a very unique program that Mexico has come up with. A program that can help our people in the rural areas, our poor people that can help stem migration away from our countries because by working in agriculture, working in the rural areas, Mexico is assisting us to be able to work with at least two thousand farmers. Assisting us with technology, assisting with some of the inputs that we would need and also with even funding to be able to help these two thousand farmers.”


PM Briceño and President Obrador also endorsed Mexico’s desire to strengthen the educational system and explore the development of Escuela México in Corozal and three other educational institutions specialized in technical vocation. So, there will be a total of four Mexican schools in Belize. Duane Moody for News Five.

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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