Why is it that our representatives always seem to be ducking and dodging when the Guatemalan President and his agents push us around with their diplomatic antics? Isn’t it about time that we launch our own diplomatic offensive? For one, I don’t think it is the best thing for us to refer to “Guatemala said this” and “Guatemala is saying that” and “Guatemala the other.” We should be specific and say that “the Guatemalan government” or “the Guatemalan President” or “the Guatemalan Foreign Minister”. How do we know that, on this Belize issue, they are speaking correctly for the Guatemalan people? Just like we need a referendum here before going to the ICJ, likewise they need a referendum there, not only for the ICJ, but for this whole “claim” matter.
The Guatemalan President and former army general Otto Perez Molina has made a big deal about Belize’s referendum law requiring 60% turnout to make the referendum valid. What, does he think a matter as critically vital as this should be determined by a small handful, say 20% or 30% of the voting population in a nation? Is that how he runs things in Guatemala? He maybe doesn’t know that a vast majority of Belizean citizens are still angry with our Foreign Minister for signing the “Compromis”, and are very uncomfortable with this decision we now face, to vote “Yes”, “No” or not to vote at all in the referendum. Belizeans generally consider this whole matter an insult to our sovereignty as a nation, and would consider any outcome other than the complete and total rejection of this unfounded Guatemalan claim to our territory to be a national disaster.
Adding “injury” to the insult, is the fact that there are no perceived penalties to be levied upon Guatemala if the ICJ should rule against her with this “frivolous and vexatious” claim which has caused the Belizean people so much pain, anxiety and discomfort for so many years. What damages will we be awarded for the emotional pain and political inconvenience the Guatemalan generals have caused us? That figure should be agreed on before even thinking of going through the ordeal of the ICJ. With nothing at all to lose presently, the Guatemalan oligarch “conquistadores” can recklessly persist in their adventurous, treasure-seeking escapade, all to the detriment of the peace of mind and wellbeing of the Belizean people.
This is 2013, and all this should have been water under the bridge a long time ago; certainly, since our Independence in 1981.
The Guatemalan President has suggested a postponement of the October 6 referendum. What is Belize’s counter move?
I would like to propose something else to him. Before approaching the Belizean people in the future with any matter concerning this disrespectful and disgusting claim, perhaps Mr. Perez Molina should take the whole question of the “Guatemalan claim” back to the good Guatemalan people, not the oligarchy who seem to pull the strings over there. Let there be an OAS and UN supervised referendum of the grassroots Guatemalan people first. Let the true voice of the Guatemalan people be heard, not the mouthpieces of the wealthy oligarchy.
The common people of Guatemala and the people of Belize are neighbors and respect each other as friends. A lot of inter-marriage has even occurred. Do they, the Guatemalan people, really want their Guatemalan government to continue this covetous and obstinate policy against Belize’s territory, or are they in favor of living in peace, harmony and mutual respect with their long-time neighbor, Belize? I think, despite the greedy and selfish machinations of the ruling oligarchy, the Guatemalan people, if given the chance, will vote to completely squash this unfounded claim forever. Belize is Belize; and Guatemala is Guatemala. Peace and love and harmony with the new generation!
Let President Perez Molina put that to the Guatemalan people, if he dares.
Question to Guatemalans: Do you believe the Guatemalan government should continue pursuing its claim against Belize’s territory? Yes or No?
If the Guatemalan people vote “No,” there will be no point bringing any question to the people of Belize about going to the ICJ. If they vote “Yes,” then the ICJ question may become relevant.
Spare us the stress, the ICJ and the bother, President General Molina. Let the Guatemalan people speak!