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Territorial Volunteers Will go Back To Border #460193
03/14/13 08:22 AM
03/14/13 08:22 AM
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Wil Maheia and his territorial volunteers are going back to the southern border.

Today the volunteers met in Belize City and it was agreed that the effort to clear the border would be divided in three, with overall leader Wil Maheia assuming the area between Otoxha village and Gracias a Dios Falls on the Sarstoon River, Belize Coalition for Justice President Nancy Marin is in charge of the area between Garbutt's Falls in Cayo and Otoxha, and north to the marker at Aguas Turbias will be cleared by a group led by Orange Walk's Orlando de la Fuente.

This is also fraught with complications, because there is a widely acknowledged error on the map between Garbutt's Falls and the Southern Border.

A date has also been set for the border clearing effort, that is April 6 - 7 at Otoxha. As the groups clear the boundary line they will be planting mahogany seedlings along the border.

Channel 7

Re: Territorial Volunteers Will go Back To Border [Re: Marty] #460255
03/15/13 07:00 AM
03/15/13 07:00 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 71,938
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Marty Online happy OP

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At a meeting held yesterday at the Library of African and Indian Studies, in Belize City, members of the Belize Territorial Volunteers finalized plans for the group’s April activities:

1) April 6th – April 7th: preliminary brush clearing expeditions

a. lead by Wil Maheia in the area of Gracias a Dios,

b. lead by Nancy Marin in the area of Garbutt Falls and

c. lead by Orlando De la Fuente in the area of Aguas Turbias

2) April 28th: Sunday evening ‘No to the ICJ’ concert in San Ignacio featuring guest speakers and information sharing.

3) April 30th: planting of 30 Mahogany trees, symbols of Belize's nationhood, in the 3 areas cleared in the preliminary expedition

In attendance at yesterday’s meeting were YaYa Marin Coleman, Perry Smith, Louis F Diaz, Nefretery Nancy Marin, Samiyyah Andrewin, and Paco Smith as well as Wil Maheia by teleconference.

The group will be extending an invitation to the Organization of American States (OAS) to send representatives to be a part of activities of April 6th, 7th and 30th.

Re: Territorial Volunteers Will go Back To Border [Re: Marty] #460329
03/16/13 08:04 AM
03/16/13 08:04 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 71,938
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Marty Online happy OP

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Elrington Issues Another Caution To Territorial Volunteers

And we also got Minister Elrington and his CEO Alexis Rosado to speak about the ongoing efforts by the Belize Territorial Volunteers.

That's the Wil Maheia group that's going back to clear other parts of the border on April 6thand 7th. Wil Maheia will go to the area of Gracias a Dios in Southwestern Belize, Nancy Marin will go to the area of Garbutt Falls in Western Belize, and Orlando De la Fuente will head to Aguas Turbias in Northwestern Belize.

Today, Elrington again cautioned them about the hazards of border clearing, while his CEO was more moderate:

Hon. Wilfred Elrington - Minister of Foreign Affairs
"A part from that, those areas are covered in thick jungles. We can't go cut that with machetes; that's thick jungle. So you've been there, you've shown over and over, but I do appreciate that some people believe - genuinely believe - that it is an act of nationalism. I could understand people being nationalistic they are, but I think it's a dangerous way of showing their nationalism, dangerous for yourself, for the nation, and to that extent we advise against it."

Alexis Rosado - CEO, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
"My understanding is what they're doing is not clearing the boarder - clearing the line. My understanding is a nice symbolic gesture that they're making. They're making sure that they keep a distance from the actual boarder line, and once they keep within Belize territory I think it's something that the Minister said; it's a show of patriotic nationality sentiment. With that particular part, nothing is wrong with that but if like the Minister said, if you go and actually try do what they originally said or going to do, it a different thing, because you have to thread across the other side."

Jules Vasquez
"There's a particular problem, not to prolong it - but, there's a problem with Aguas Turbias."

Hon. Wilfred Elrington
"Yes, I heard you said that, and that's another problem, you see because the suggestion is that as demarcated it is not consistent with the coordinates that are contained in the treaty. I've heard that said, so that again could mislead people in believing that they're in Belizean territory when they may well be in Guatemala territory. So that's something that needs to be brought to mind to, that needs to be borne in mind too."

During the discussions over the Ramphal-Reichler proposals in the mid-aughts we learned that the border line between Garbutt's Falls and Aguas Turbias has an error.

It should have been drawn due north of Garbutt's falls, but is instead aligned to the border of Mexico and Guatemala - which is a little bit to the west - too much to the west according to some mapping experts.

Channel 7

Re: Territorial Volunteers Will go Back To Border [Re: Marty] #461747
04/05/13 07:44 AM
04/05/13 07:44 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 71,938
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Marty Online happy OP

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Territorial Volunteers Get Some Acknowledgement From OAS

This weekend, the Belize Territorial Volunteers will go back to the Belize/Guatemala border in their efforts to make a clear and definite boundary between both countries.

And their efforts will be bolstered a donation to the organization by American Alex Dillett, of jungle clothing and footwear. The members of the BTV are especially excited about it because according to them, the next few areas that they will be work to clear will be more challenging without the proper attire.

The donation was handed over to the BTV yesterday, but this isn't the only good news that the organization is getting.

As we showed you in our coverage of the first effort at the Jalacte Border, a representative from the Organization of American States was present, but he made himself scarce when the media attempted to approach him.

The BTV wrote to the OAS to request their presence as an oversight observer to witness that their effort is meant to be a peaceful one. They have since received a response from the OAS which has pledged that a representative will be present during all their expeditions to the border for the month of April.

They do note that quote, "the OAS will be observing from a prudent distance from the Adjacency Line." End Quote.

Channel 7

Re: Territorial Volunteers Will go Back To Border [Re: Marty] #463383
04/30/13 05:13 AM
04/30/13 05:13 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
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The Road Less Travelled…to Aguas Turbias

The Belize Territorial Volunteers have already been to Jalacte and San Vicente. On Saturday they embarked on their third border clearing expedition when they went to Aguas Turbias – which is at the northwestern edge of Belize’s territory. It was a fascinating journey down a road not much travelled. Daniel Ortiz and cameraman Codie Norales left Belize city at 3:30 am on Saturday morning to accompany them – and here’s their report.

Daniel Ortiz reporting
At around 6:30 a.m., approximately 80 Belizeans arrived at Linda Vista Shopping Center in Blue Creek, the first real checkpoint on the journey to Aguas Turbias. They arrived in a convoy of about 10 vehicles and a bus.

The passengers who arrived by bus quickly disembarked for a quick logistics meeting before they could truly start the journey.

Those volunteers were ready and proud as ever to display the Belize flag, signaling that they moved with one purpose.

They all readied their equipment and made a few last-minute preparations to fly their colors proudly, and it was then time to meet the coordinator for this expedition, Orlando De La Fuente. He gave us a quick briefing as to what the game plan was.

Orlando De la Fuente - Coordinator, Aguas Turbias Expedition

"We're going to go West for thirty to forty minutes more until run into the border with Mexico. That is going to be the staging area. From there we're going to have to alight the vehicles and we're going to take tractors and trailers and we'll head West along the border for 10KM to the monument."

The monument is the structure erected to signify where Belize’s border intersects with those belonging to Guatemala, and Mexico.

Everyone then moved off, determined to make it there in good time.

45 minutes later, the terrain started becoming too difficult for the bus to traverse. That’s because there were no more cleared roadways.

From then onward, the path was just a crudely cut picado through several miles of bush.

The majority of the group had to be transferred to 2 tractors, transportation generously facilitated by the Mennonite Community. When everyone was safely aboard, both tractors moved off leading the way, with the other vehicles better equipped for off-road bringing up the rear.

20 minutes into the ride, the convoy made a complete stop, and the lead tractors then took a left, leaving behind the roughly hewn trail, for route very far off the beaten path. At this location, the Volunteers were at the frontier where Belize’s Orange Walk District meets Mexico.

On this new path, the convoy then started at a sluggish pace south along the border for approximately 10 kilometers. This new route was arduous, and hardly big enough to accommodate the vehicles.

Very frequently, the pace slowed to a crawl because path was uneven, and nearly impassable. Several times, the convoy’s progress ground to a halt. That’s because there were overhanging branches which the scouts had to cut down.

Finally, after almost 2 and a half hours in the baking sun, and the still, dusty air, the BTV finally arrived at the border point known as Aguas Turbias.

This is where the borders of these 3 neighboring countries intersect. That white post in your screen is the monument which Orlando De La Fuente spoke about. It is a concrete marker demarcating where the 3

The problem is that both Guatemala’s and Mexico’s borders points are clearly visible; Belize’s - not so much. so, the BTV immediately moved in to change that:

Orlando De la Fuente
"We are here today to celebrate the 1859 convention signed by Her Majesty and the republic of Guatemala on April 30th. In that convention, Belize's borders were clearly defined; that was when Belize was conceived. Maybe we were born on September 21st, 1981 but we were conceived on April 30th, 1859. We had sent an invitation to the Mexican Embassy and the Guatemalan Embassy if they would have liked to send a representative to join us here today to join in this convention. The Guatemalan Embassy said that they would not have been able to join us and refused to give us a flag. The ambassador said that if they provided us with a flag would be their acceptance that there is a boundary between Belize and Guatemala. He says that there is not a boundary but an adjacency line and he would not give us the flag to fly on their side of the marker. The Mexican Embassy called and said that they would prefer to remain neutral and they didn't want to get into the affairs in something internal between Belize and Guatemala, so they also refused to give us a flag. So we will not be flying the three flags of those countries here. In place of that we brought three Mahogany trees and they are going to represent the three countries at the marker. We've planted the three Mahogany trees over there to represent Belize, Mexico and Guatemala."

But nowhere was there such a glaring example of the stark contrast in policy and respect for one’s territory, than as seen right there at Aguas Turbias. Guatemala and Mexico have clearly demarcated their frontier, and signs of encroachment from either side can easily be queried. What makes the issue even more contentious is that a few meters away from this delineation, the border between Belize and Guatemala was unclear - so much so that the Volunteers had to cleave to the far corner monument to be sure that they were in their own territory.

Orlando De la Fuente
"I'm very disappointed. Internationally, if you look at the boundary this is a tri-partite boundary and it is what divides Belize, Mexico and Guatemala. Nothing would have stopped out from coming out here today so for them not to be here - I don't know the reason for them not being here."

Wil Maheia - Leader, Belize Territorial Volunteers: Southern Regiment "We are standing right now on the Mexican and Guatemalan border. I believe that Belizeans need to take a note of this and demand from our Government that we maintain our border similar to this. There are no incursions into Mexico from Guatemala and there are no incursions into Guatemala from Mexico. The border is clearly demarcated; our border is not as long as it is in Mexico or Guatemala. Our border should be like this and it will prevent all the incursions that are taking place. Belizeans need to demand from the Government that they do more to protect our country, Belize. If the Mexicans and Guatemalans can do this then there isn't any reason why we cannot do the same. "

Orlando De la Fuente
"If you look behind me due West - that is where the border continues between Guatemala and Mexico. That is a good example how borders should be demarcated. If you were to look at it they have boundary marker every 200 meters and on it is a Bronze plate that says 'Joint Tribunal - Mexican and Guatemalan Tribunal for water and land"

Wil Maheia "I don't think we should even look at Guatemala, I think we should look at our own selves and at our own government for not taking up the challenge. If Guatemala and Mexico could agree to demarcate their borderline there's no reason why we can't demarcate our own line with Guatemala. The government needs to stop looking for excuses and need to start taking care of their border, reduce the incursions and take care of Belize and show the world that Belize does have a border."

And according to De La Fuente, maintaining the border, as laid out by the 1859 Treaty, serves another purpose because right now, Belize has lost a lot of its legal footing. He says that this does not look good for the ICJ case, if it ever does get to that point.

Orlando De la Fuente "It seems that the boundaries have not been maintained, have not been kept demarcated and I feel that at this point in time that Belize is at its most vulnerable. I think Guatemala has the strongest claim yet. Belize has agreed that we no longer have a border with Guatemala they are now calling it an adjacency line. Guatemala is about to publish new passports which would show, for the first time, the map of Belize on the front of their passport. It's not a good position for Belize and I think we need to change course and we need to stand firm."

After the Belize Plaque was installed, the BTV closed the expedition with the National Anthem and prayer. The leaders also shared a few remarks and a vote of thanks for the support from the Belizeans who showed up.

According to the expedition’s coordinators, they plan to go back to monument and install a second Belize plate, and properly paint it. That’s because there are 2 sections which point to the Belize border. Also, tomorrow, the BTV plans to make a trip to the border point at Gracias A Dios in Toledo.

Channel 7

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