PRAYER ALERT on new Guatemala map. Guatemala is circulating a map which displays Belize as its “disputed” 23rd province. The new Guatemala map shows Belize divided into three parts. Each part was claimed by Great Britain from Spain/Guatemala on three different dates. Guatemala considers illegitimate these claims. But for the former British colony Belize, these claims form the basis for its continuing sovereignty. Both countries plan to hold referendums aimed at taking their cases to the UN’s International Court of Justice (ICJ).
The two major political parties in Belize back the referendum. But PUP Senator Eamon Courtenay blasted the ruling party UDP’s Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington for not protesting against the new Guatemala map. Elrington replied that “nothing has changed”. Guatemalans have always claimed “the whole of Belize.”
Guatemala is spending $46 million on promoting the upcoming March 18 referendum on its claim of all Belize. Belize has not yet set a date or price tag for its referendum. So far it has limited its campaign to May meetings with church leaders and an October 25th meeting with several dozen invited guests.
At both the May and October meetings Elrington asserted Belize’s main talking points. First, neither Spain or Guatemala have ever occupied Belize. Britishers/Belizeans have occupied it since 1662. Second, the most recent treaty between Britain and Guatemala delineated all of Belize as British. Belize marked out its boundaries in 1931. (However, Guatemala never got the highway to the Caribbean Sea that the treaty promised.) Third, the UN recognizes Belize as a member nation. Fourth, all of Elrington’s legal advisers, who keep track of the ICJ, have assured him that Belize will win the case.
At the October meeting Elrington presented top representatives of Guyana and the island of St. Lucia. Both are small Caribbean nations which have held onto their own territory with international help. Guyana has one-thirtieth the population of Venezuela. Yet has managed a 51-year-old stalemate in Venezuela’s ongoing claim on its territory.
Belize has one-fiftieth the population of Guatemala. Is it now time to seek the international court’s decision against Guatemala’s claim?
DailyInsight. There’s a difference between fighting words and winning words. Fighting words intensify conflicts. Winning words end them (see Eph. 4:30).
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