BELIZE JOURNAL PT. 2 on Guatemala intruders. A recent preliminary report by the Organization of American States (OAS) indicates that Guatemala intruders deliberately ambushed Sergeant Richard Lambey on March 26, the day before Easter. These civilians apparently wanted to kill him. Sergeant Lambey was wounded in the hand and abdomen but survived. He had come under fire on patrol near a watering hole at the Caracol Maya archaeological site on the Belize side of the border.
At the same Caracol ruins on September 25, 2014, Belize Special Constable Danny Conorquie was shot and killed. Guatemala intruders were also suspected in that murder. It occurred in full view of several tourists and tour operators. Conorquie was shot in the back. Then a Hispanic man came forward and shot him several times in the face. The perpetrators were never caught.
While their own government has looked the other way, Guatemala intruders have regularly violated the border. They have come to Belize to poach, harvest timber, pan for gold, conduct the drug trade, plant crops and even build and live in homes. But after Conorquie’s death Guatemala took unprecedented steps to safeguard the border and even protect Belizeans. On Oct. 10, 2014 Guatemalan diplomats and top military personnel met with their Belizean counterparts. They promised to do all they could to stop Guatemala intruders and their activities in Belize. They agreed to joint Belizean/Guatemalan patrols at the border. They set up new intelligence-sharing mechanisms between the two nations’ military and police forces. They promised the education of Guatemalan border villages on the enforcement of Belizean laws against intrusions. They agreed to promote ways to gain a livelihood within Guatemala.
At the December 17, 2014 meeting of SICA (Central American Integration System) Guatemala President Otto Perez Molina and Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow were both present in the highest official capacity. Molina accepted the next 6-month term of presidency of SICA. The outgoing president was Barrow himself. Molina took the opportunity to declare before the Central American heads of state that Guatemala “will never constitute a threat to Belize.” Molina added that “Guatemala and Belize will be neighbors forever. For this reason we want to live in peace. We’re partners in the development of our populations.” He and Barrow then hugged like old friends. At the same SICA meeting, the foreign ministers of both nations signed on to thirteen points of bi-lateral agreement for cross-border collaboration.
But their agreement started to unravel in April 2015 when the Molina administration came under investigation on charges of corruption and fraud. Molina himself resigned on September 2. On the next day he was formally charged, arrested and imprisoned. He remains in prison to this day.
In the meantime the Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV) intensified their campaign to publicly mark out the contested border. On August 20 BTV led an expedition to the Sarstoon River at Belize’s southern border. Guatemala, which claims the entire river, sent its navy boats to prevent them from landing on Sarstoon Island. That island is the first site where Belize had planned to build its forward operating base.
Since then BTV has led more expeditions to the Sarstoon despite Belize government warnings that they might provoke Guatemalan aggression. BTV planned an excursion there for April 30. That date is the anniversary of the signing of the 1859 treaty which established the border with Guatemala. But on April 29 the government forbade all Belizeans from going to the Sarstoon for an entire month. This time the BTV boats which left for the Sarstoon were intercepted by the Belize Coast Guard, not the Guatemala navy. BTV proponents loudly protested. They said that the government was in effect enforcing Guatemala’s claim to the river. The government charged the protesters with endangering its efforts to bring about a peaceful negotiated solution…
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