Old Bze-Mexico Bridge Closed Briefly
The Belize - Mexico Bridge between the Corozal Free Zone and Subtiniente Lopez is no longer the main border crossing for Belzieans going across to Mexico. Most of us now use the new Chactemal Bridge. But the old bridge is still used plentifully by Mexicans going in and out of the Corozal Free Zone. More than that it is used by the so-called "fayuqueros", those persons smuggling products out of the free zone into Mexico.
And maybe that's why the old bridge was closed yesterday. It was a joint initiative by Belizean and Mexican Authorities. Belize's Comptroller of Customs Colin Griffith told us that it was a collaborative effort by both Mexican and Belizean authorities to stop commercial exportation from the Free Zone through the old bridge.
And today the Mexican Embassy added quote, "it was an agreement between the bridge authorities of both sides of the border, regarding their mutual concern about illegal goods crossings."
The Mexicans confirmed that it is only a temporary suspension, but the bridge is open and pedestrians can cross it; only vehicles have been temporarily restricted.
The Mexican embassy says that it is no reflection on relations between Belize and Mexico which the Embassy says remains very good.
Mexico Shuts Border Crossing at Subteniete Lopez, but Rest of Border is Open
The Governments of Mexico and Belize have mutually agreed to a temporary ban on vehicles and motorcycles crossing the old border bridge of Subteniente Lopez, restricting traffic to pedestrians only. According to reports confirmed by Belizean sources, merchants of the Commercial Free Zone have complained about smugglers flouting the customary limit on transferring goods over the border and Mexican authorities are cracking down. But what does it mean for your commute? We spoke to press officer at the Mexican Embassy, Hugo Juarez Carrillo, this afternoon.
Hugo Juarez Carrillo, Press & Legal Affairs, Mexican Embassy
“The crime of this smuggling is not particularly only happening in this part of the border and not only from Belize to Mexico; this is something that both countries are suffering [from] and trying to stop. As you [may] remember, in January there was an incident on that bridge but to this moment we know that there has been no new incident in Subteniente Lopez. This is as far as we understand at the Embassy, this is only a mutual agreement between the Mexican and Belizean authorities at the bridge in order to make their operations easier. The bridge has not been closed. Temporarily has been banned the crossing from Mexico to Belize of vehicles; people can cross walking the bridge from Mexico to Belize. As you know, for a few years, vehicles cannot cross from Belize to Mexico. This bridge, especially from Belize to Mexico has been used for a walking-crossing for at least two years that I have been here in Belize. The border is open – the border is not closed. If you want to go to Mexico this weekend for example, you can go as usual using the bridge of Chactemal and cross normally – no problem of crossing in a vehicle through Chactemal Bridge.”
“That is the newer one?”
Hugo Juarez Carrillo
“The new one, yes the new bridge.”