A report appearing in the Guatemalan news outlet, Siglo21, claims that Belizean immigration authorities have been harassing Guatemalans traveling into Belize, especially those from Petén, who come with passports which have on their cover a map with Belize and Guatemala separated by a dotted line.
Interestingly, that news report claims that 600,000 of the “dotted line” passports for which their citizens are allegedly being harassed began arriving in their country this April, contrary to official reports from Foreign Affairs staff in Belize that those passports had, based on reports from their Guatemalan counterparts, been in use for years.
Belize Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse told Amandala today that he has not received reports of any such harassment of Guatemalan nationals, and the Guatemalan Ambassador resident in Belize has made no such complaints to him.
According to Minister Hulse, his ministry has implemented no changes in relation to Guatemalan passports; neither have any instructions been issued to impose more stringent measures on them.
Earlier plans that Belizean authorities would refuse to stamp the passport if printed with an offending map including Belize as part of Guatemala’s territory were reversed after Guatemala claimed there would be no such change on the passport and that the media reports saying so were false.
However, Amandala got its information from an official Guatemalan website, which was confirmed by Belize’s Ambassador in Guatemala, that a tender had been issued stating that the new passports “must take into account the territorial differendum of Guatemala with Belize.”
The dotted line will continue to be on the passport, reflecting Guatemala’s stance that it does not accept Belize’s western border with Guatemala as valid.
However, Belize continues to maintain that that border is valid, according to the 1859 Boundary Treaty between Britain and Guatemala.