Editorial — 07 May 2016
Glitter and Guate-liath

To the best of our knowledge, the Guatemalan Foreign Minister, Carlos Raul Morales, an increasingly ambitious bureaucrat/diplomat who spent most of the 1990s posted at the Guatemalan Embassy in Belize, and ended up marrying a Belizean wife, is the only Cabinet Minister who survived last year’s change of government in Guatemala City from the presidency of the disgraced, imprisoned Otto Perez Molina to that of the inexperienced, compromised Jimmy Morales.

Four days after the new Guatemalan President, Jimmy Morales, made a dramatic, disturbing call to Guatemalan arms on Thursday afternoon, April 21, 2016, following the unfortunate and tragic shooting death of a Guatemalan minor in Belize’s Chiquibul forest about sixteen hours before, the Belize Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, claimed that the tension at the borders between Belize and Guatemala was de-escalating, following the buildup of the republic’s military in the Peten and at the Sarstoon. The following day, Foreign Minister Morales went on national television in Guatemala to declare categorically that no such easing of tension was taking place and that Guatemala continued to demand justice for the death of 13 year old Julio Alvarado Ruano.

On Tuesday afternoon this week, May 3, Prime Minister Barrow held a press conference in Belmopan to discuss developments following the Government of Belize’s publication of a Statutory Instrument on Friday, April 29, drafted to prevent the Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV) from visiting the Sarstoon River on the morning of Saturday, April 30, to mark the 157th anniversary of the 1859 border treaty between Great Britain and Guatemala. The BTV did try to travel to the Sarstoon Saturday morning, and Belize security forces prevented them from doing so.

Belize’s constitutional Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) had held a meeting at their national executive this Tuesday morning, May 3, and proceeded to publicize some aggressive resolutions, the likes of which had not been heard from the PUP for many years. The resolutions included a proposed visit by PUP parliamentarians to the Sarstoon in order to challenge the constitutionality of the Government of Belize’s April 29 Statutory Instrument.

In his Tuesday afternoon press conference, during which he revealed that several de-escalation meetings were scheduled to take place in Washington, D.C., that Tuesday and the day following, meetings which included the Foreign Ministers of Belize and Guatemala, representatives of the Organization of American States (OAS), and a representative of the State Department of the United States, Prime Minister Barrow commented critically on the Jimmy Morales April 21 call to Guatemalan arms.

On Wednesday, May 4, the Government of Guatemala, no doubt on the advice of their Foreign Ministry, seized on the aspects of the Barrow press conference which were critical of the republic’s response to the Chiquibul incident, to fire off a militant response to Belize which emphasized and dramatized Guatemala’s commitment “to defend its sovereignty, territorial integrity and welfare of its citizens, at all costs and sparing no efforts.” The anger in the Guatemalan release sounded much out of proportion to the elements of censure in the Barrow presentation. We’re just saying.

Now, beloved, the people of Guatemala know that Jimmy Morales was the candidate of their military in last year’s presidential elections. And, it now appears to this newspaper, Carlos Raul Morales considers himself an expert on Belize and the Belizean people. In contrast to the naïve, pathetic bleating of the Belize Foreign Minister, we would say categorically that the leaders of the Guatemalan military do not “loathe war.” In fact, Guatemala’s military leaders embrace wars and rumors of wars, because war activity increases the military’s share of the republic’s national budget. In addition, let it be known that what military training induces in the young men who form the rank-and-file of any army, is a desire to implement the tactics and techniques they have learned in their training. Jump high, jump low, there are warmongers in Guatemala.

There are reasons for the bullying arrogance of Jimmy and Carlos Raul Morales. One reason is that they know their army is much larger and more powerful than Belize’s. Another reason for their Goliath attitude is that Jimmy and Carlos know they are assured of the support of the United States of America. But there’s another reason we Belizeans should be very concerned about, because it is an area we ourselves should have already begun to address. Carlos Raul has no doubt informed Jimmy that there is an influential element embedded in Belize at different levels of our society which constitutes a Guatemalan fifth column.

In the last few years the United Democratic Party (UDP) government of Prime Minister Barrow has gotten away with many misdeeds. Serious challenges from the Opposition PUP over the eight plus years of the UDP’s three terms have been few and they have been insubstantial. In their recent Guate-liath excesses, however, Jimmy and Carlos Raul have revived the PUP. Complacency and weakness in the Barrow administration have been exposed. Civil society has become involved in the BTV initiatives. At the Government of Belize’s Tuesday afternoon press conference in Belmopan, the two most powerful UDP politicians sat next to each other – Mr. Barrow and Hon. Gaspar Vega, and it struck us that both of these two elite multimillionaires are “lame duck,”, which is to say, this is their last term of office. Mr. Barrow’s “glitter” has failed at the Sarstoon. Suddenly, the socio-political game in Belize has changed. Jimmy and Carlos Raul can take the credit.

Power to the people. Remember Danny Conorquie. Honor Staff Sgt. Richard Lambey. Big up, Wil Maheia and the Belize and Northern Territorial Volunteers. Right on, Admiral John Borland. Believe in the BDF. Support Friends for Conservation and Development. Salute SATIIM. Stand strong, BNTU.

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