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#459207 - 03/01/13 02:29 PM Orange Walkenos To Take Part In "Clear Borderline"
Marty Offline

Bright and early on Saturday morning well known activist, Wil Maheia will be leading the Belize Volunteers Group along with other individuals to the South-Screen_shot_2013-02-28_at_6.15.59_PMWest border between Guatemala and Mexico. The group’s objective is to demarcate the border line between Belize and Guatemala as an action of patriotism. The assemblage is set to leave Punta Gorda Town at 6:00am and travel to the bordering village of Jalacte where, with machete in hand, they will commence their “Clear Our Borderline” campaign until they reach south to the community of Gracias A Dios.

The action is being condemned by Belize’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington and by Guatemala’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but that is not stopping a group from Orange Walk from joining the planned action. 

Orlando De La Fuente, Going to Border

“Depending on the mood of the Guatemalan Army because it’s not part of the border that is divided by the river. So we will be in plain sight of the Guatemalan Army. We could see them and if they seem to be agitated or seemed that they will cause trouble we will probably will not be clearing the land but it is very likely that we will. Most of us want to really clear the land even if the Guatemalan Army is there because we believe that we have a right to do it. It is our land. It is our country and it is absurd that even the government could support Guatemala’s position, causing trouble for us and our land that we were born in.

Hipolito Novelo, Reporter

“Now honestly speaking do you think that some incident might happen involving the volunteers and the Guatemalan army?”

Orlando De La Fuente, Going to Border

“I really don’t know because i have never been there but that is the rick i am willing to take. I have my machete and people would say what I will go do with a machete against the Guatemalan army but I say that it doesn’t matter because it is our will. We want to be there and we want to make our presence known and we want to make a statement. So you might have guns and a bigger army but we don’t want Guatemala in Belize.”

Hipolito Novelo, Reporter

“Others might be thinking that you are taking the volunteers and putting their lives in jeopardy.”

Orlando De La Fuente, Going to Border

“I don’t know about that Hipolito because i am telling anybody that they have to come. My life might me in danger. My wife has backed out but there is a risk to everything. It all depends how much you love your country. I know what the risks are for me and I am willing to go. My brothers and I are going.”

Last week the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Guatemala sent a diplomatic note to Belize objecting to Maheia’s “Clear Our Borderline Campaign”. Here in Belize Minister Erlington has stated that the actions of the Belize Volunteers Group do not have the support of the Government and as such no security will be provided. Elrington has also stated that no one knows exactly where the border line lies and as such Maheia and his group could be looking for trouble. The Orange Walk group; though, is building no worries since they are well aware of their actions.

Orlando De La Fuente, Going to Border

“I really believe that the government has heard and that the postion that the government has taken in reponse to the Guatemala claim is not the position that I feel I should have. That does not represent me and I know that that position does not represent a bunch of other Belizeans.”

Hipolito Novelo, Reporter

“The Honourable Elrington has mentioned in other parts of the media that no one knows where the border line is.”

Orlando De La Fuente, Going to Border

“Everybody knows where the border is. When we were accepted as a member nation in the United Nation in 1981 our border were clearly marked and so for him to say that- I don’t understand that. Elrington does not seem to be an ally of Belize. I think our position regarding the Guatemala claim has eroded and has gotten weaker under Elrington. I think he is giving bad advice to be making such statements. It only strengthens Guatemala’s claim for him to say that.”

Hipolito Novelo, Reporter

“He also mentions that he does not support it because you guys might step over Guatemala’s side and get yourselves arrested.”

Territorial-Volunteers-Up0001Orlando De La Fuente, Going to Border

“Well, this expedition has- we are taking two licence surveyors. We are also taking an official from the office of the Ombudsman. He is an attorney who will be accompanying the expedition. We are also taking Major Lloyd Jones from the BDF. He was a past commander for the BDF. These people have the experience and I am sure that they will guide us in the right direction. But most of all is that we want to bring attention to the matter and say that out position regarding the Guatemala claim has been too weak. We have been appeasing the Guatemalans and we need to make a stand and we have the right to clear the border. How the Guatemalans can tells us not to clear it? Can we tell Guatemala not to clear their side of the border? We can’t do that. We are always trying to appease and please everybody else and Belize needs to start to think about Belize first.”

According to De La Fuente an invitation is still open if you are thinking about joining the expedition.

Orlando De La Fuente, Going to Border

Some of us are leaving Friday afternoon while others are leaving midnight Saturday night because PG is about 6 hours away. The invitation is open to any patriotic Belizean who wants to make a stand and this is not to say I am against my own party the UDP. It’s not but even in the convention they stated that this is the party position regarding the Guatemala claim. And as a free thinking Belizean you are free to vote using your conscience. It is a matter that I feel really passionate about. We should not be going to the ICJ under these circumstances. Mr. Maheia has offered camping, bathroom facilities at a school in PG. If you can’t get a hotel then all you need is to get a tent and there will be a briefing Friday evening by other volunteers and there will be a BBQ that night. So if you can make it come on out and it will be a great chance to meeting other Belizeans who feel great about the Guatemala Claim.”

For more information on the expedition you can visit De La Fuente Hotel on Main Street.

CTV3


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#459281 - 03/02/13 02:37 PM Re: Orange Walkenos To Take Part In "Clear Borderline" [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

WIL TOLEDO BELIZE

An unprecedented drama will be played out this weekend when Wil Maheia leads his band of Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV) to the Belize border with Guatemala in Toledo and tries to clear the border so that it can be demarcated. Symbolically, this would represent the first time that any Belizean or group of Belizeans has put up a red flag for the Guatemalan government to see, essentially saying to Guatemala City that these are territorial rights Belize is declaring, for Guatemala, the region, and the world to see.

This coming weekend’s expedition represents, again symbolically, a rollback of the “confidence–building measures” of 2005 wherein the Organization of American States (OAS), Guatemala and Belize agreed to replace the border between Guatemala and Belize with an enlarged area called an “adjacency zone.”

Predictably, the Guatemala government protested last week to the Belize government when they heard about the mission of the Belize Territorial Volunteers. The Belize government reacted by immediately calling on Wil Maheia to cease and desist from the Belize Territorial Volunteers’ expedition, declaring that the members of the expedition would be in physical danger, and basically telling the BTV that they would be on their own, or, in other words, that the security forces of Belize would not provide any cover for them.

Where we found the Belize government’s response to the Guatemalan government’s diplomatic note to be disappointing, was in the panicked speed of it. The Maheia expedition was ten days away: the Belize government could have hemmed and hawed a little, but they rushed to try to discipline the Belize Territorial Volunteers, using scare tactics. The Belize government behaved like an adjunct of the Guatemalan government. The Belize government did not behave like a sovereign, independent government.

Our sense had been, from the time Wil Maheia announced this border-clearing intention, about three weeks ago if we remember correctly, that he would have liked cover from the security forces, but that it was not a requirement or sine qua non for the border-clearing expedition. This is a very important consideration, because if security cover had been a sine qua non, then the chances are exceedingly great that Wil Maheia would have had to call off the expedition once the Belize government panicked last week Friday because of the diplomatic note from Guatemala City.

And so the question is, did the Belize government know, did they make it their business to know, that their security cover was not a sine qua non for the Belize Territorial Volunteers? If they did so know, why did they believe, if we are to judge from their domestic response to Guatemala City’s diplomatic note, that they could make Wil Maheia turn chicken? Because the Belize government believed they could make the BTV turn chicken, then the Belize government itself now comes off as chicken, and the Belize Territorial Volunteers would become genuine Belizean national heroes if they can do what they intend to do – clear the border.

Unless the Belize government declares a state of emergency in Toledo or prepares some statutory instrument or the other, they cannot stop the Belize Territorial Volunteers from going to the border. As things presently stand, the BTV are going to the border. If they do, then, despite what the Belize government is saying, a constitutional responsibility lies on that government to protect the Belize Territorial Volunteers as citizens of the independent, sovereign nation of Belize.

Once the BTV do not enter the sovereign territory of Guatemala, then what danger could they be incurring? We have heard the argument that, technically speaking, you cannot do such a thing as to “clear the border” without infringing on your neighbor’s space – air, land, or whatever. In other words, if you want to clear the border and your neighbor does not wish for that border to be cleared, and you then go ahead and clear the border, you may provoke an incident. Technically, this may be a valid argument.

But then, how about our argument as Belizeans? Technically, and also in real terms, our nation is being invaded every single day by Guatemalan citizens who are robbing our natural resources. When Belize tries to protect its natural resources, in sovereign Belizean territory, these encounters with invaders sometimes become incidents which the Guatemalan government exploits, for domestic and regional propaganda purposes, to accuse Belizeans of taking advantage of Guatemalans. Belizean environmental wardens and security forces are operating under the most stressful of conditions: they are supposed to protect Belizean property and resources, but they are not sure how far they can go to defend themselves, in deep jungle. The Belize government is being routinely humiliated by the Guatemalan government. Belizeans who are out there in the jungle defending us and our patrimony are aware of this.

This is a very big initiative on which Wil Maheia and the BTV are embarking. In the 72 hours or so remaining before their journey begins, the diplomatic wires will be hot as far away as Washington and London. This is, to repeat, a very big initiative. As Belizean citizens, we support the initiative. For too long, we Belizeans have felt as if we are being encircled and confined by a net which is drawing tighter and tighter around us.

Do the people of Belize as a national entity support the initiative? The UDP government, expressly, does not. The Opposition PUP has not formulated an opinion. The churches, trade unions, business organizations, and other civic bodies have not published an opinion. On the ground in Belize, the issue is much more casual and informal, we think, than it is in the relevant corridors of power in Guatemala City, Mexico City, Kingston, Havana, Washington and London. Out there, this border clearing expedition is big news. Whether Wil Maheia and the Belize Territorial Volunteers know it or not, this amounts to an attempt to change the nature of the conversation. It’s big.

Power to the people. Power in the struggle.

Amandala


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