Features — 19 May 2018
Beware the ICJ…

I am very thankful to Mr. Godwin Sutherland for sending me a copy of the book, Background and Study of the Special Agreement between Guatemala and Belize to submit Guatemala’s Territorial, Insular and Maritime claim to the International Court of Justice, written by Gustavo Adolfo Orellana Portillo. I believe the information that it contains should be widely spread so that Belizeans can learn of what Guatemala has to say. Sometime ago, a Belizean had written a book which was published concerning the same issue. Unfortunately, it was too expensive ($200); therefore, it was only at the reach of a few of the wealthy, elite class. The rest of us, who are the majority, know absolutely nothing of what such book contained.

Recently, an article was published in the Amandala under the heading, “The controversial CANUL LUNA”. What was interesting to me is what was mentioned by the United Nations: “The United Nations is neither a State nor a Government, and therefore does not possess any authority to recognize either a State or a Government.” I may be wrong, but to my understanding it means to say that to become a member of the United Nations does not give title of sovereignty to such country, like in the case of Belize. I hope to be corrected.

On the other hand, I do not believe that when the Guatemala/Belize issue is taken to the International Court of Justice, the judges may start from where both countries had ended their exchange of notes; if not, it will start from the beginning of the history and will be judged as I have stated in one of my writings — according to the international law of the time, be it in the 1700s, 1800s, and so on and so forth.

Meanwhile, I will continue to dig into history to find what was said by others and not the British. Those who want to hold on to what they had inherited from the British, who didn’t have any title to this place, must be aware that it was held by force of arms, and I´ll continue to say that the judges of the International Court of Justice will rule on behalf of Guatemala, and I believe that the District of Toledo and all that is in front to the east shall be recompensed to Guatemala for the damages caused by Great Britain.

The following is a part of what the Guatemalan historian, Mariano Lopez Mayorical, stated in his booklet published in 1977 under the title, “Aspectos reales sobre BELICE”:

BELIZE

Invoking irrefutable rights that assist Guatemala

I stand, to what was exposed by the lawyer Ignacio Mariscal (certainly linked to me by ties of family, Historical Research, volume II, page 344). And beginning to gloss: “That illustrious Mexican cannot be branded today, as a mutilator of the territory of his homeland, having been, on the contrary, who widened that territory at the expense of that of Guatemala …”. Mr. Mariscal affirmed categorically that: “… BELIZE COULD NOT INTERPRET AS YUCATAN LANDS, FINISHED IN ITS SOUTHEASTERN RIO HONDO LIMIT …”

There is an argument from a Yucatecan Alpuche, to affirm that Belize is from Mexico, but (that famous but), England could not recognize rights in Belize that she herself never had, except those of limited usufruct. Understand intrinsically that the “Perfection Albion” there failed, not reaching to suspect the proportions of the future…

England did not ratify the treaty of 1825. Why? Because he recognized Mexico’s rights that he did not have. This is what Mr. Canning said to Mr. H. G. Ward, Plenipotentiary of Mexico, in a note dated September 9, 1825. As a consequence, the treaty was repeated in 1826, the inaccurate document was deleted from that of 1825. (Treaty of Mexico, 1878, page 432).

The government of Guatemala, vigilant of the integrity of its territorial rights, protested several times against the Anglo-Mexican arrangements. In a note of December 30, 1834, said Mr. Alvarez, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Central America, the Secretary of State of the United States of America, which subsequently in 1826, by the treaty between Great Britain and Mexico, it was clear, without entering into questions of other natives, that the border must agree to the letter of that convention. (Appendix to the Congressional Globe).

The Minister Mariscal concludes:

“IT IS THEREFORE DEMONSTRATED THAT BELIZE DOES NOT BELONG TO US, NOT BY OCCUPATION OF OUR PART, BECAUSE WE DID NOT HAVE IT, SINCE WE WERE AN INDEPENDENT NATION, NOR BY ASSIGNMENT THAT SPAIN MADE US, NOR BY THE RECOGNITION OF WHO HAS OCCUPIED THAT TERRITORY, THAT IS, ENGLAND, ONLY FACTS THAT COULD GIVE US SOVEREIGNTY.”

Colonel Galindo, special agent of the Central American government, wrote to Mr. Forsyth, Secretary of State of the United States of America. The 1st of July (date of our absolute Independence) of 1835:

“THE RIO HONDO FORMS THE BORDER BETWEEN GUATEMALA AND YUCATAN AND THEREFORE THE TOTAL OF THE CONCESSION MADE BY YOUR CATHOLIC MAJESTY TO BRITAIN CUTTERS IS WITHIN THE SOVEREIGNTY OF CENTRAL AMERICA, THE MEXICAN STATES IN THEIR TREATY WITH THE GREAT BETAÑA ARE ATTRIBUTED THE SANCTIONS OF SUCH CONCESSION OF THE SPANISH MONARCH … “. (Manning Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, III, 88).

There is an extremely interesting fact, a note from Mr. Licenciado Mariscal, which appears in the “Defense of the Treaty of Boundaries between Yucatan and Belize”, by Mr. Ignacio Mariscal, Minister of Foreign Affairs, page XVII (referring to a map published by the lawyer Alpuche, which is adulterated …). The English government itself never considered its arrangements with Mexico safe; he insisted on obtaining from the government of Central America, first and then Guatemala after, the desire for recognition of “limits”. For thirty years he demanded as a condition of the recognition of the independence of Central America, that this country recognize in turn, British sovereignty in Belize, which was never achieved in such a way … The discussion of the borders of Yucatan was intense, prolonged and even passionate and after the bitter debate was over, the Senate approved the treaty and with it, the foundations on which it was founded: Yucatan never reached further south of the Hondo River.

The Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala published his White Book on the question of Belize, having the Guatemalan government send to all the American chancelleries as was usual courtesy, such a book. The chancellery of Mexico gave a full response, “in terms of support and sympathy for our cause…” For my part I propose to extract some paragraphs of the communication:

“Mexico, D.F., March 24, 1939.

Mr. Minister:

With your attentive note No. 14,572 dated October 31, 1938, two copies of the White Paper published by that government were received in this Secretariat, in order to present, especially before the public opinion of America, the state in which it is currently located controversy between the government of that republic and the one of the Great Britain, originated by lack of fulfillments on the part of the second, of the convention of limits between Guatemala and Belize subscribed by both government in the year of 1859 …

“The careful and denounced examination, both of the very interesting note to which I refer, and of the important and abundant documentation contained in the White Book, was a cause for delaying the answer that today I have the honor to address to Your Excellency; but that delay was imposed by the very importance of the matter, since this Secretariat, in issuing its opinion on it, wanted to do so with the assurance of not obeying only a natural and sincere feeling of sympathy towards a brotherly people and towards a government friend, who would have inclined spontaneously in favor of Guatemala but to the rights of reason, justice, equity and law. It is a special satisfaction for the undersigned, that those feelings and these dictations are concurrent, which greatly facilitates the response of Mexico to the communication of Guatemala. The documentation published by the Guatemalan government shed light on the question debated for almost a century.

 EDUARDO HAY (Minister of State) “.

On March 17, 1940, the president of Mexico, General Lázaro Cárdenas, delivered a speech in the capital of Chiapas, exhorting the people of Mexico to support the legal claim of Guatemala against Great Britain (taken from the White Book of Guatemala, and of El Nacional, official mouthpiece of Mexico, in its edition of March 27, 1940).
This subject has been treated extensively, by the author, in the second and third volumes of “Historical Investigations,” in Prensa Libre, page 39, dated September 15, 1967, in the newspaper La Hora dated November 8 and 24 of 1975, and in an interview that La Nación did, on November 28, 1975.
Guatemala, October 7, 1976.

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May 11, 2018
Finca Solana
Corozal Town

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Deshawn Swasey

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