Attention Government and People of Belize
By: Joaquin Magańa Sr.
What Everyone, Especially Mr. Elrington And GOB Should Know: That History Discards The Unfounded And Void Guatemalan Claim Over Belize!!!
In 1838 – 1839 the United Provinces of Central America broke up giving rise to the new countries of Central America. Guatemala Claimed that Belize was administered by Spain as part of the Captaincy of Guatemala and that they had inherited this sovereignty, as a result of the breakup of the federation. They say Belize was passed to Guatemala, since Belize had been considered part of Peten or Verapaz region of Guatemala. The fact is that there is by far more convincing historical evidence, however, to strongly suggest that Belize was considered by Spain as part of Yucatan (Mexico) NOT of Guatemala; but in any case, Spain NEVER EVER occupied Belize.
During the 18th century the Spanish attacked the settlement of British Honduras (now Belize) many times, in 1717, 1730, 1754, and 1779 forced the settlers to leave; some were taken as prisoners to Yucatan. However, the Spanish NEVER settled in Belize, and the British returned and expanded their settlement and trade. On September 10th, 1798 was the last time that the Spanish attacked. The British side won what became known as the Battle of St. George’s Caye. The Spanish retreated and NEVER again tried to control the settlement of British Honduras (now Belize). The truth of the fact is that all attacks on the settlement came from the Captaincy of YUCATAN (MEXICO) NOT from Guatemala.
In 1859 after years of negotiation and under some prodding by the USA, the Anglo – Guatemalan Treaty was signed. It contained 8 articles, the FIRST DECLARING BOUNDARIES AS THEY EXIST UNTIL TODAY. Article 2, 3, 4, and 5 concerned the constitution of a commission to demarcate the boundary. Article 7 which was the reason of the dispute later, called on both parties to establish “the easiest communication (either by means of a cart road, or employing the rivers, or both united, according to the opinion of the surveying engineers), between the fittest place on the Atlantic Coast, near the settlement of Belize, and the capital of Guatemala”. The problem with Guatemala is that its new constitution in 1945, declared Belize to be a part of Guatemala. As from then Guatemala has on several occasions threatened to invade Belize, this prompted Britain to reinforce their protecting force in Belize. Guatemala then timidly subsided until future time.
The cart road was never built, and after sporadic negotiations over 80 years, Guatemala ended up repudiating the treaty in 1940, claiming that although it appeared to be a boundary treaty, it was in reality a disguised treaty of cession by which Guatemala ceded British Honduras (Belize) to Britain. That article 7 represented the compensation to Guatemala and that since it was never fulfilled then the treaty was void and the territory should be reverted to Guatemala. But here, precisely was where Guatemala’s mistake was; there are experts and historians that agree that GUATEMALA FAILED AS MUCH AS BRITAIN IN COMPLYING TO FULFILL THEIR PART IN THAT ARTICLE 7. For that reason Belize remained with the same boundaries as it is today. Belize had become the colony of “British Honduras” in 1862, with the existing borders as it is today.
With these facts in hand it becomes clear that Guatemala’s claim is UNFOUNDED, VOID and it clearly shows they lack good faith as well; making them nothing less than a Bully. GUATEMALA NOR SPAIN HAS EVER OCCUPIED BELIZE SO THEY HAVE NEVER HAD LEGAL RIGHTS OVER BELIZE. Guatemala did not even once protect, much less defend their so called sovereignty over the settlement (Belize). On the other hand the Captaincy of Yucatan, Mexico did it five times, but failed on the last attempt. The settlement which eventually became Belize was populated first by indigenous people the (MAYAS), then by the British, then their African slaves and on the latter part by the influx of the other ethnic groups and people that make up Belize today.
In 1964 Belize attained Full Internal Self Government. Independence was to follow soon. The unfounded Guatemala claim delayed it. Belize needed to internationalize its cause to gain independence with ALL its territory intact. Not a square centimeter would be ceded to Guatemala was the Belize mantra. Belize had to lobby for international support to become independent. First it was CARICOM, then the Commonwealth of Nations, and around the world to lobby for support to self determination. Of great importance and impact was the support of the Non – Aligned Movement. In August 1975, Belize won the movement’s full support for a secure independence with territorial integrity, with the existing borders as it is today.
Finally, in 1980 the USA changed its policy of neutrality and voted in favor of the United Nations resolution that called for the independence of Belize. It demanded the secure independence of Belize with ALL ITS TERRITORY INTACT, before the next session of the UN in 1981. It called for Britain to continue to defend Belize, and on all countries to come to its assistance. 139 countries voted in favor of the resolution, with 7 abstentions and NONE AGAINST, GUATEMALA REFUSED TO VOTE. When Guatemala refused to vote it was because she had accepted that her claim over Belize is void and invalid; thus accepting the will of UN resolution. Guatemala had finally given up her unfounded claim. It is important to note that UN resolution requested at the same time that the relevant organs of the UN to take appropriate steps “to facilitate the attainment of independence by Belize and to GUARANTEE ITS SECURITY and TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY THERAFTER”. This thereafter is very important and gives assurance to Belize. This means all the territory with its borders as it was then and thereafter. So Belize had as from then well defined borders, NOT ARTIFICIAL BORDERS NOR ADJACANCY ZONE AS THE MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, Mr. Hubert Elrington says.
In concrete, Belize is not just a piece of vacant, barren land, no; Belize is now a nation where the citizens, the PEOPLE, had, and still have a right to self determination to gain independence. This was approved by the UN and became a reality in 1981. UN very clearly and unequivocally stated: to guarantee BELIZE’S security and territorial integrity then and THEREAFTER. Now the Anglo – Guatemalan dispute is between Britain and Guatemala NOT Belize; Belize is present in the negotiations to guarantee its territorial integrity and sovereignty. It is the Anglo-Guatemalan dispute. Anglo means BRITISH. The settlement cannot include any land cession of the NEW INDEPENDENT Belize. The dispute cannot consider any Belizean territory; Belize has nothing to settle with bully Guatemala. Again, let THEM resolve their problem, but No territorial claim over Belize can be entertained. Belize is there to safeguard, to guarantee its territorial integrity.
My question is: WHY take the dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) if UN has declared Belize independent with ALL ITS TERRITORY INTACT? Well that’s it. So what, UN mandates don’t have to be taken into consideration now? Of course YES! All has been said by UN, and very clearly too. After all even if ICJ would declare that Guatemala’s claim is unfounded, is null and void, ICJ has no power to oblige Guatemala to accept that decision. Guatemala, after the case, can still refuse to accept the decision of the International Court of Law and continue claiming Belize if they so wish.
Going to ICJ plus Referendum are waste of badly needed money and time. In addition Belize might end up losing. We know that certain giant foreign multi- million powers would be more than happy to hand Belize over to Guatemala. WE MUST ALL BE VIGILANT AND SAY NO ICJ, NO REFERENDUM as well. If Guatemala didn’t invade Belize before, or right after independence when they were furiously, fiery red hot and humiliated by UN’s resolution, it is very unlikely they will do it now or in the future. If they would dare to invade, they would immediately be expelled by UN as no nation can invade another according to UN laws.
SO LET US NOT BE INTIMIDATED neither by bully Guatemala nor by anyone. If we roll “our tails” like a frightened puppy Guatemala will be encouraged to persist in their NONSENSE. Belt up Belizeans, Belize is definitely not for grabs. Belize is for Belizeans with all its territory intact. Like it or not. Let us stand for our right no matter what. Let Britain and Guatemala settle their differences leaving Belize alone with its existing borders intact. Our territory is not for any sort of negotiation with no one. All of Belize with its existing borders is for Belizeans, period. So Mr. Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs don’t come with any treacherous silly negotiations as Belize has REAL BORDERS NOT artificial borders as you say. If you are not for Belize you are against Belize, if you are against Belize, you are against UN, yes, you are against UN! I have said!!!
18 Solid Reasons why Belize should not go to the ICJ
- The ICJ does NOT guarantee that Belize will remain with all its territory intact as it is since Belize became a crown colony in 1862 and after it became Independent in 1981.
- Going to ICJ is like buying lottery (Boledo). We may win but we may LOSE. We have proof of many court cases where injustice prevails; the innocent are found guilty and the guilty walk away free. We stand a good chance of winning, however, IF WE LOSE, WE WILL LOSE OUR LAND. Our country is too much to lose. We simply cannot, and will not take that chance.
- Belize is a sovereign nation member of United Nations. Even Guatemala accepted this fact although reluctantly. Guatemala cannot be trusted because they always change their position in their claim with time.
- The determination of the Belizean people WAS, IS, AND WILL always be: To be a Sovereign and Independent Nation with ALL ITS TERRITORY INTACT.
- Neither Guatemala nor Spain ever occupied nor settled in Belize, NEVER. Guatemala has NEVER EVER had legal rights over the territory, nation of Belize.
- Whenever Spain attacked to expel the British from this land, all 5 attacks (including the last, which was called The Battle of ST. George’s Caye in 1798) came from The Captaincy of Yucatan, Mexico; NEVER from Guatemala. If they didn’t bother to defend this land is because it DID NOT BELONG TO THEM.
- Belize is not a piece of barren land. Belize is a country of people. These people, BELIZEANS, have always owned this land. Belizeans DO NOT WANT TO BE A PART OF GUATEMALA.
- Probabilities are so high that Belize has a large reserve of petroleum, for that reason Guatemala started with their nonsensical, unfounded claim once more.
- Guatemala is a poor nation, so poor that some people have been dying of hunger there. This may happen to Belizeans once we are incorporated to Guatemala. We can’t even think about it. In addition they are racists. They have killed thousands upon thousands of their indigenous people. General Efrain Rios Montt ex-president of Guatemala was taken to court because he was one of the most vicious genocide perpetrators in Guatemala.
- ICJ cannot stop Guatemala to continue claiming Belize. If the decision happens to be in favor of Belize, they can and will continue their unfounded claim. They will continue their claim because the Constitution of Guatemala says Belize is for them. So ICJ’s decision won’t change that.
- If Belize does NOT go to ICJ WE LOSE NOTHING, however if we do go and GUATEMALA WINS THE CASE, WE WILL LOSE PART OF BELIZE, FROM SIBUN RIVER TO THE SARSTOON.
- Do you want Belize to disappear as a nation? From Sibun River to Sarstoon River will be for Guatemala. In addition, although Mexico is not claiming Belize; BUT if the division is done should Guatemala win the case, then Mexico automatically is by that decision owner of the rest of Belize, from Sibun River to Rio Hondo. This means BELIZE WILL NO LONGER BE!
- There will be a severe psychological, cultural and language mal adjustment and trauma for the people if the southern part of Belize is given to Guatemala which will take decades to overcome, if it can actually be overcome.
- Do Belizeans in the west and south want to belong to Guatemala??? If yes go to ICJ. If NOT SAY NO, NO, NO TO ICJ.
- This is an Anglo- Guatemalan Dispute, Anglo means British, how comes Belize is now in it, and at stake??? Let Britain solve their dispute with Guatemala, if there is any. HOWEVER THEY MUST RESPCECT OUR TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY AND INDEPENDENCE TOO. Belize DID NOT, CANNOT INHERIT THE DISPUTE. Belize is INDEPENDENT with defined boundaries. United Nations accepted Belize as a nation, because it is a nation SEPARATE FROM GUATEMALA. Belize got its independence from England not Guatemala.
- We CANNOT trust ICJ because they have ulterior interests, backed up by a couple powerful nations WHO WANT BELIZE TO BE A PART OF GUATEMALA.
- Government of Belize has not had the courage, the “BALLS” to tell Guatemala in a firm way that their claim is unfound and void, that Belize will NEVER relinquish a square centimeter of our land. On the contrary they allow Guatemala to take the initiative to say what will be done. It was Guatemala who proposed first going to ICJ.
- Guatemala failed to ratify the treaty within the stipulated 6 months done in 1862 with the British, and when they did she (Guatemala) was informed by the British Government that the treaty had lapsed with Guatemala’s failure to meet its requirements and that Great Britain would NOT COMPLY with it.
Anyway Belize got its independence from England but IF a crooked, unbiased, unjust decision comes up WE WILL NOT RELINQUISH OUR LAND we had our independence from England and WE WILL DEAMAND IT FROM GUATEMALA AS WELL. BELIZE IS FOR BELIZEANS!!!
BELIZEANS SAY NO, NO, NO TO ICJ!!!