PRAYER ALERT on Guatemala border view. Today Guatemala’s popular daily La Prensa outlined Guatemala’s case for owning all of Belize. One week before the April 15th referendum on taking the case to the International Court of Justice, La Prensa published “Data on the Conflict between Guatemala and Belize.” It concedes that in the years 1783-1786 Spain formally allowed the British to “take advantage of the resources of the territory between the Hondo River (border with Mexico) and the Sibun River. [Now that territory is the northern half of Belize.] However, these lands remained under Spanish rule.”
Therefore, when Guatemala gained its independence in 1821, it “inherited all the territory and treaties that the old Kingdom of Guatemala possessed.” However, the British extended their settlements south of the Sibun River to the Sarstoon River. That doubled their territory. Then Guatemala then negotiated the 1859 Ayicena-Wyke treaty to stop this British advance. Guatemala ceded the extended territory, in exchange for a highway to the seaport of Punta Gorda. Afterwards Guatemala waited long for the British to build that highway. But the British never did so.
Finally in 1948 the Guatemala Congress declared that treaty void and claimed all of what is now Belize for their own. Great Britain ignored that claim. In 1981 Belize declared its independence, not from Guatemala, but from Great Britain. Later, in the 1990s, Guatemala recognized the independence of the Belizean people. But it “never recognized their borders.”
Guatemala’s 1985 Constitution stipulated that “Any final agreement must be submitted by the Congress of the Republic to the popular consultation procedure.” And so now Guatemalan lawyers are arguing that their Congress must approve the referendum first. Then it must submit it to the people for their final decision. According to them, therefore whatever the ICJ does, it cannot have the final say.
DailyInsight. A nation’s greatest hope is a praying church with members who disciple that nation in every arena (See Neh. 1-9).
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