Veracruz, Mexico. Fri. Oct 8, 2021– Upon the invitation of the Secretary of the Mexican Navy, Admiral Jose Rafael Ojeda, Belize’s Minister of National Defence and Border Security, Hon. Florencio Marin, Jr., participated in the celebration of the Anniversary of the Mexican Navy. The official ceremony was hosted in the city of Veracruz on October 4, 2021. On that day, the Mexican navy commemorated its 200th year since the inception of the Ministry of War and Navy, and the fleet of naval officers who committed to protecting the sovereignty of their nation.
After its inception, which was impelled by opposition from the Spanish Crown that threatened Mexico’s independence, the Mexican Navy quickly became active. A group of Spaniards from the castle of San Juan de Ulúa seized control of the port of Veracruz. This altercation spanned four years and was the first obstacle the navy faced that held high risk to the country’s sovereignty.
Governor Mauricio Vila Dosal led the commemorative ceremony on October 4. The day’s primary goal is to celebrate and honor the men and women who have dedicated their lives to the safety of Mexico.
In his visit, Belize’s Minister of National Defence and Border Security, Hon. Florencio Marin, Jr., was granted the opportunity to meet with the heads of Mexico’s four primary security agencies, namely the Navy, the National Defense, the National Guard, and the Air Force. Minister Marin had discussions with high-ranking officers: Admiral Jose Rafael Ojeda, Secretary of the Navy; General Luis Cresencio Sandoval, Secretary of National Defense; General Luis Rodriguez, Commandant of the National Guard; and Divisional General José Gerardo Vega, Commandant of the Air Force.
Throughout the visit, the Mexican Government treated the Belizean minister with the highest regard. Minister Marin was a guest of honor at the anniversary parade of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
In his excursion, Minister Marin was joined by key stakeholders in Belize’s National Security, a delegation that featured the Chief Executive Officer in the ministry, Brigadier General (Ret’d) Dario Tapia, and Inspector General (Ag.) of the Ministry of National Defence and Border Security, Ambassador Oliver del Cid.
This visit serves as a symbolic reminder of the continually growing relations between Belize and the Government of Mexico. Over the course of the year, the two neighboring states have held a multitude of bond-strengthening activities. Through trade, Belize has secured contracts to export both cattle and shrimp to Mexico. Further, Mexico has become a benevolent benefactor in Belize’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign – having already donated two shipments of vaccines to its neighboring country.
The growing diplomatic ties between the two countries also saw the Prime Minister of Belize visit Mexico on its day of Independence. This interaction, in specific, also bolsters military relations between both countries. It serves as a gateway for more intensive bilateral working visits to combat issues of mutual concern and as an avenue to discuss potential areas of collaboration.