The diplomatic crisis between Belize and Guatemala - if there ever was one - has been defused. Relations appear to be just about back to normal after a meeting in Guatemala City on Monday. Unofficial information from inside those meetings is that privately Guatemalan Foreign Minister Harold Caballeros had to back track on inflammatory remarks he had made in early October.
But while relations are back to normal - we're not sure we can say the same for the BDF's rules of engagement along the Western border.
The Prensa Libre reports that coming out of Monday's meeting in Guatemala, the Government of Belize has decided that the BDF will only use rubber bullets and stun-guns to prevent further deaths.
That sounds to some like an emasculation of the armed forces in an area of Belizean territory known to be hostile. We asked the National Security Minister about it:..
Hon. John Saldivar, Minister of National Security
"What we have been doing at this time is a review of the terms of engagement as it were and the instructions that our BDF has when they go out there with respect to when they confront or engage persons in the area. We are currently reviewing that and very shortly we will finalize a new protocol that hopefully can resolve or can help us to avoid the fatalities that have been occurring in the area.
Certainly the BDF will continue to carry live rounds but I would want to say that perhaps in addition to carrying live rounds they may also carry some non-lethal weapons. But the thought of BDF not taking lethal weapons is not under consideration. But we may add non-lethal weapons so that they may have other options when they are confronted."
For context we note that on October 5th in Guatemala at least six people were killed and 30 were shot in a clash between the Guatemalan army and protesters. That October fifth is the very same day that a BDF soldier shot Francisco Quinn Yat.