Features — 18 August 2018
The three times that Guatemala has tried to recover disputed territory in Belize

The history of the country records three curious attempts to reintegrate the territory of Belize into Guatemala, which placed the problem on the world stage:
Prensa Libre
Por Hemeroteca PL
April 13, 2018

With the tensions of recent days between the Belizean armed forces and Guatemalan citizens settled in the area of   adjacency, these events seem anecdotes of a legendary dispute. In his memoirs, former President Miguel Ydígoras Fuentes reported that, as the question of Belize was paramount for him, he decided to invade that territory peacefully on April 17, 1958. To do so, he invited the presidents of the Congress of the Republic and the Supreme Court of Justice, as well as other personalities, to visit the ruins of Tikal. Ydígoras indicated to the pilots that before returning to the capital they would take them to Melchor de Mencos.

When he arrived, he asked if there was a vehicle to take a tour of the place, and then a Land Rover and a small truck appeared, which, with dissimulation, he had ordered to rent in Belize. The president invited his companions to know Benque Viejo, where he had many friends. Upon reaching that place, he opened a suitcase and began to distribute the Constitution of Guatemala to everyone. They went to the small square, where he called some friends, while the group took pictures with the Constitution in hand. As the purpose was to provoke a scandal, he convinced the local policeman to report to the Governor of Belize.

“I dictated to the sergeant what he had to say, but since the Governor could not find the solution, I advised him to ask for orders to expel us from the territory,” says Ydígoras.

That incursion was the cause of an international scandal. In March 1963, the Guatemalan president won the support of the US president, J. F. Kennedy, who forced the English to return to the negotiating table, so a meeting was scheduled for April of that year, but on the night of March 29-30, Ydigoras was overthrown by twenty men.

Another case was that of Francisco Sagastume Ortiz, who, in command of 19 men, all Petenero farmers, armed with pistols and rifles, invaded Belize on January 21, 1962. After three days of walking 70 kilometers, from Poptuìn, the invading group arrived at Pueblo Viejo, already inside Belize, where Sagastume ordered to lower the British flag and burn it, and hoisted the Guatemalan flag. Until that moment he had not told his men the objective of the raid. Nine men returned, while the rest continued to San Antonio, where a group of local armed Indians awaited them; however, there was no confrontation; to the contrary, they provided transportation to continue the trip to Punta Gorda. When Sagastume and his men arrived at Punta Gorda, the English Army was waiting for them, so there was an exchange of shots. Before the inequality of forces, the Guatemalan invaders dispersed and Sagastume and Gustavo Rosado were captured. The rest were apprehended a day later. Sagastume and Rosado were sentenced to 10 years in prison, while the others were deported to Petén. Thanks to international pressure, the convicts regained their freedom on December 17 of that same year.

Belizeans pro-Guatemala
The Progressive Movement of Belizeans and Blacks, headed by Gabriel Emmanuel Joshua Adderley, tried, through political efforts, both in the country and in the rest of Central America, to reintegrate the territory of Belize into Guatemala. According to the book of minutes of the movement, he proposed that he would incorporate that territory, and his candidate would deputize George Price who years later became prime minister. Also names of Guatemalan characters appear, among them: Mario Sandoval Alarcón, Rigoberto Bran Azmitia, Ricardo Peña, Roberto Skinner Klée, Francisco Montenegro Sierra, among others, as sympathizers of that group. For his pro-Guatemala actions, Adderley was imprisoned for a time in Belize. Upon regaining his freedom, he continued with the movement from the Guatemalan capital. Adderley maintained close contact with Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán, Carlos Castillo Armas and Miguel Ydígoras Fuentes, when they were presidents, and they showed their support for the movement, as did other Central American governors.

This movement took to the Congress, on September 18, 1959, a declaration of Guatemalan sovereignty over Belize. The border crisis led the Guatemalan troops in 1975 and in mid-1977 to be willing to invade Belize. The British Army demonstrated its capacity for reaction, when in 1975 the rumors of invasion of Belize became strong; inclusive, England sent warships, to intimidate. The journalistic reports of June and July of 1977 describe the climate of tension experienced in those days, when Guatemalan troops were sent to the imaginary line of Belize with Guatemala, while the English Army sent about six thousand commandos, as well as Harrier airplanes, of vertical takeoff, combat helicopters, two companies of “Centurion” tanks and anti-aircraft rockets.

One of those planes flew over Guatemalan space and increased the possibility of a confrontation. The then Colonel Benedicto Lucas García commanded the Guatemalan troops in Petén. In those years, international strategists estimated that Guatemala would only have 48 hours to invade, before the British mounted the airlift. It was considered that there were only two possible forms of attack: a lightning advance from an armored column to Belize City, or an air-transported operation that would take the airport from the Belizean capital; then, demands would be made that they negotiate.

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August 3, 2018
Finca Solana
Corozal Town

CLINTON CANUL LUNA´S NOTE:
The tensions that have been created within the adjacency zone and in Belizean territory were provoked by a well-orchestrated plan by the Guatemalan oligarchy. It is internationally well-known that Guatemala had one of the most sophisticated criminal organizations which have been in operation for decades, covering the whole of what is known as the Triangle of Central America, and many of those who were discharged from the military apparatus had joined Mexico´s organized crime and drug cartels.

In its report, Prensa Libre indicated that the Guatemalans had invaded Belize on three different occasions, in 1958, 1962, and 1977. During that time, what we know today as Belize, was then a British colony called British Honduras and it was most natural that the British would have defended its possession, not the people, since they were not of any importance, except as modern slaves who labored for meager wages for the British corporations.

It would be very interesting to know who were these Belizeans and Blacks that made up the Progressive Movement in favor of Guatemala, since in those days, there were no Belizeans, except if they are referring to the Patriotic Order of the Baymen who are descendants of a mixture between the British masters and their African female slaves, with the Blacks being descendants of the African slaves. However, in those days none of these were permanently established in what we know as the border line between the British colony and Guatemala. On the other hand, they, the Prensa Libre, did not say if Gabriel Emmanuel Joshua Adderley was a British subject or a Guatemalan.

As I understand it, George Skinner was an interim British vice-councilor in Guatemala City in 1839 and in the same year the English house Kinner-Klee made a loan to the merchants of Guatemala to the State to alleviate their economic hardship. Could Roberto Skinner Klee mentioned by Prensa Libre be a relative of the aforementioned vice-councilor? In that case, he would be a mestizo of English race born in Guatemala. Obviously, he would be in favor of his homeland. The accusation of George Price wanting to sell the British colony in those days, was a mischievous make-up story by the British to break his career as a leader to achieve independence of this place that we know today as Belize. So, to mention that there is a book of minutes that had an intention to give George Price the post as Deputy once this territory was incorporated into Guatemala, is a complete lie, a mischievous make-up story, similar to what the British did in those days.

On many occasions, I have mentioned in some of my previous writings that the only way Guatemala could invade Belize was with the consent of Washington, and now I want to set on the record that it is also with the support of the United Kingdom, which has given that support by turning a blind eye to the invasion that the Guatemalan marines have done by strong-holding the Sarstoon River and Island. They speak of a protocol and of peace, yet, they, the Guatemalan oligarchy, have broken all the laws that had been established in the Charter of the United Nations. They should be thankful that the national security forces of Belize do not have a revolutionary spirit. Had it not been for that reason, there are enough well-trained military personnel, not only to overturn Guatemala´s armed forces but also to create a war in Central America. In my language there is no small enemy. Guatemala, you have had the experience in 1960 when one of your own military men, Manuel Antonio Yon Sosa, lit the dynamite that exploded into 36 years of civil war by the unsatisfied Ladinos. Unfortunately, they did not include the Maya in such a revolution, since had they done so, the military wouldn´t have been able to massacre 200,000 of the indigenous people and their history would have been different.

Nonetheless, be careful, because in this 21st century things can change; even with all of Washington´s military power, you won´t survive. In September of 1977, the King of Spain, Don Juan Carlos and his wife Doña Sofia, made a visit to several Latin American countries, with Guatemala being one of those. In a speech he had given at the Guatemalan Congress which was attended by two thirds of its representatives, he stated that: “His (Guatemala) rights, were always defended by the Crown”. It was only a diplomatic speech, since the King of Spain had no power to give to Guatemala any type of title or recognition of the sovereignty of British Honduras, today Belize. That could have been done when Guatemala had recently gotten its independence in 1821, but there is no record of Spain acknowledging the British settlement as part of Guatemala, and yet, when Spain recognized Guatemala´s independence in 1863 it was as how it is.

The worm-eaten claim of Guatemala can only be won should it go to the International Court of Justice, and that would be due to the interest Washington has, which is to create one of the most modern military bases between Puerto Barrios and Punta Gorda, with the intention to create a division between the two great communist countries who have fought against the neo-liberal system and invested in the poor people of their nations. The great powers that be are insatiable.

 and 1977. During that time, what we know today as Belize, was then a British colony called British Honduras and it was most natural that the British would have defended its possession, not the people, since they were not of any importance, except as modern slaves who labored for meager wages for the British corporations.

It would be very interesting to know who were these Belizeans and Blacks that made up the Progressive Movement in favor of Guatemala, since in those days, there were no Belizeans, except if they are referring to the Patriotic Order of the Baymen who are descendants of a mixture between the British masters and their African female slaves, with the Blacks being descendants of the African slaves. However, in those days none of these were permanently established in what we know as the border line between the British colony and Guatemala. On the other hand, they, the Prensa Libre, did not say if Gabriel Emmanuel Joshua Adderley was a British subject or a Guatemalan.

As I understand it, George Skinner was an interim British vice-councilor in Guatemala City in 1839 and in the same year the English house Kinner-Klee made a loan to the merchants of Guatemala to the State to alleviate their economic hardship. Could Roberto Skinner Klee mentioned by Prensa Libre be a relative of the aforementioned vice-councilor? In that case, he would be a mestizo of English race born in Guatemala. Obviously, he would be in favor of his homeland. The accusation of George Price wanting to sell the British colony in those days, was a mischievous make-up story by the British to break his career as a leader to achieve independence of this place that we know today as Belize. So, to mention that there is a book of minutes that had an intention to give George Price the post as Deputy once this territory was incorporated into Guatemala, is a complete lie, a mischievous make-up story, similar to what the British did in those days.

On many occasions, I have mentioned in some of my previous writings that the only way Guatemala could invade Belize was with the consent of Washington, and now I want to set on the record that it is also with the support of the United Kingdom, which has given that support by turning a blind eye to the invasion that the Guatemalan marines have done by strong-holding the Sarstoon River and Island. They speak of a protocol and of peace, yet, they, the Guatemalan oligarchy, have broken all the laws that had been established in the Charter of the United Nations. They should be thankful that the national security forces of Belize do not have a revolutionary spirit. Had it not been for that reason, there are enough well-trained military personnel, not only to overturn Guatemala´s armed forces but also to create a war in Central America. In my language there is no small enemy. Guatemala, you have had the experience in 1960 when one of your own military men, Manuel Antonio Yon Sosa, lit the dynamite that exploded into 36 years of civil war by the unsatisfied Ladinos. Unfortunately, they did not include the Maya in such a revolution, since had they done so, the military wouldn´t have been able to massacre 200,000 of the indigenous people and their history would have been different.

Nonetheless, be careful, because in this 21st century things can change; even with all of Washington´s military power, you won´t survive. In September of 1977, the King of Spain, Don Juan Carlos and his wife Doña Sofia, made a visit to several Latin American countries, with Guatemala being one of those. In a speech he had given at the Guatemalan Congress which was attended by two thirds of its representatives, he stated that: “His (Guatemala) rights, were always defended by the Crown”. It was only a diplomatic speech, since the King of Spain had no power to give to Guatemala any type of title or recognition of the sovereignty of British Honduras, today Belize. That could have been done when Guatemala had recently gotten its independence in 1821, but there is no record of Spain acknowledging the British settlement as part of Guatemala, and yet, when Spain recognized Guatemala´s independence in 1863 it was as how it is.

The worm-eaten claim of Guatemala can only be won should it go to the International Court of Justice, and that would be due to the interest Washington has, which is to create one of the most modern military bases between Puerto Barrios and Punta Gorda, with the intention to create a division between the two great communist countries who have fought against the neo-liberal system and invested in the poor people of their nations. The great powers that be are insatiable.

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