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Jul 16, 2008

P.M. Barrow comments on ousting of Consul

And while the Belizeans are in the custody of Mexican authorities in a sensitive case that could be protracted, there is another crisis brewing on the diplomatic front. With the untimely ousting of businessman Rafael Chavez, who was stripped of his appointment as Honorary Consul yesterday just as the confrontation broke, the government is hamstrung in providing representation to Belizeans across the border. The ambassador designate, Rosenda Urbina, is still in Belize so the second in command of Belize’s Embassy in Mexico City has been flown to Chetumal to look into the situation. Given the nature of the incident and the proximity, you may ask why not officers from headquarters in Belmopan? Well according to P.M. Barrow at a press conference this morning:

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“In any event, what has happened with those Belizeans will require intervention at a level far higher than an honorary consul. The Embassy in Mexico will have to be tasked to deal with that and if one of the officials in Mexico has to come live in Chetumal or Corozal for a month or so, then that is what we will do, but there really are no regrets at all about the termination of Mister Chavez. The Embassy in Mexico is tasked with trying to do what it can. I can’t say anything more than that because I have not been in touch with foreign affairs this morning. Clearly it is a difficult situation because unlike the case we have some years ago when Mister Vargas, I think, unwittingly took his gun across you cannot argue that this was anything other than deliberate. No doubt, perhaps justifiably deliberate, but certainly not in terms of Mexican law, so it’s going to be a, I think, a very hairy issue between ourselves and the Mexicans.”

The P.M. was referring to Ruben Vargas, a then employee of Brodies, who spent months in the Chetumal penitentiary for entering Mexico with an undeclared weapon.

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