Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Guatemala's claim on part of Belize

Remember the special agreement between Belize Agreement, the so-called compromis? Well, it was signed on in December, 2008, and 21 months later on Thursday September ninth, the Guatemalan Congress unanimously approved it.


For those who framed the agreement, it is a significant accomplishment bringing Guatemala and Belize one step close to a referendum on whether or not to take the Guatemalan claim to the International Court of Justice. Speaking today from Guatemala City, Belize's ambassador to Guatemala Fred Martinez discussed the significance of this development:…
H.E. Fred Martinez, Ambassador to Guatemala

"It is significant in the sense that it shows a tremendous amount of political will on behalf of the 14 different political factions that are represented in the congress that the time has come to elevate this to a different level and a solution has to be found in an international court of justice. That has now been pass and that it's really a historic event in Guatemala."

Jules Vasquez
"While significant it is ultimately in substantial in term of the ultimate goal of resolving the differendum."

H.E. Fred Martinez, Ambassador to Guatemala
"Well I agree with you it is an important step, an historic step that has been past but it is only 1 step in the whole process, the biggest issue yet to come which is the referendum in both countries whether or not the people in both countries do so agree that it goes to the international court of justice. And then the biggest hurdle obviously is the presentation of the case if the people so agree at the international court of justice. We are just in the beginning of that process. We have been pleasantly surprise to put it very mildly that it should have pass the congress this quickly. But we have been pleasantly surprise, more so surprise by the fact that there was a unanimous vote and that there was very little debate in the congress itself."

Jules Vasquez
"How hopeful are you right now that it will happen within let's say medium term?"

H.E. Fred Martinez, Ambassador to Guatemala
"I think it is more feasible to talk about the medium term and not about the short term as I have explain about the political time tables. My personal guess and I am not talking for the government of Belize, but my personal educated guess on the issue is that this wouldn't be held until after the next general elections in Belize."

The agreement has already been approved by the House of Representatives here in Belize….

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Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
View of Lake Atitlan and volcano from my apartment balcony in Panajachel. Taken by Catherine Todd June 2008.