The Guatemalan Claim Pt.10

The final leg of the claim (up to December 2008) has moved through some turbulent waters, so to speak. Today August 19th, 2015 the claim is as hot as ever.

The Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV) made visit on the 16th August where close to 150 volunteers and press personnel came face to face with the Guatemalan Coast Guards bullying the Belizeans out of their own territorial space. Our Belizean Coast Guards, on the command of the present government, just sat idly on the dock of the southern mainland of Toledo. Included in the group of volunteers were the Organisation of American States (OAS) representatives, Wil Maheia one of the founding leaders of the groups and Senator Lisa Shoman.

Off the Coast of Belize City, Belize (11 June 2007), U.S. service members from the Expeditionary Training Command and Coast Guard International Training Division conduct a vessel assessment aboard a Belizean  Coast Guard boat prior to commencing coxswain subject matter exchanges on board High Speed Vessel (HSV) 2 SWIFT. Task Group 40.9 (TG 40.9), is deployed as part of the pilot Global Fleet Station (GFS) to the Caribbean basin and Central America.  The mission is designed to validate the GFS concept for the Navy and support U.S. Southern Command objectives for its area of responsibility by enhancing cooperative partnerships with regional maritime services and improving operational readiness for the participating partner nations.  Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class David Hoffman. (RELEASED)

17th September, 2002  Facilitators Proposals Presented to the people of Belize:

  • They describe the m]land boundaries of Belize. These are exactly as described in the 1859 Convention
  • They propose that Belize retain its territorial sea entitlement as proposed by the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982)
  • They propose a settlement in Belize/relocation to Guatemala scheme for the residents of Santa Rosa Village
  • They call on Honduras and Belize to grant Guatemala an access corridor of unrestricted navigational rights extending two miles wide on either side of the Belize/Honduras territorial sea equidistance line boundary. This would enable unimpeded access to the high seas to Guatemala in accordance with UNCLOS principles
  • They call on Honduras to provide, equally, a Guatemalan exclusive economic zone of 2000 square nautical miles in the Gulf of Honduras
  • They propose a Belize Guatemala Honduras Ecological Park in the Gulf of Honduras
  • They propose a US$200million Development Fund for development projects in both countries
  • They propose that Belize commence negotiations on free trade and bi-lateral investment treaties
  • They recommended that required national referenda of the proposals be held in both countries within 75 days,on the same day f approved, the drafting and signing of necessary treaties to give effect to the proposals should be proceeded with. Confidence Building measures should remain in place until then
  • Side letter signed by both Ministers says that if proposals not approved the parties will consider referring the dispute for judgment by a legal body

3oth September, 2002  Facilitations process formally concludes in Washington DC. International Community congratulates the parties, pledges support, and urges implementation of the proposals

October 2002  Belize moves quickly to educate the Belizean public on the proposals and to initiate the legislative process required to conduct the national referendum to meet the end November deadline

Guatemala cites constitutional problems pose implementation difficulties

24th October, 2002    Facilitators write the Foreign Ministers advising that because practical difficulties prevent meeting the deadline for the referenda this should be rescheduled by mutual agreement

Electoral politics in Guatemala and the tremendous unpopularity of the Portillo Government strengthen the hand of those in Congress opposed to the proposals which receive no circulation in that body

Foreign Minister Gabriel Orellana eventually resigns

(FILES) This 14 October, 2002, file photo shows Guatemalan Foreign Minister Gabriel Orellana, in Guatemala City. Orellana resigned his post suddenly 12 December, 2002, citing personal reasons. President Alfonso Portillo named Edgar Gutierrez, head of the Office on Strategic Issues, to replace Orellana.     AFP PHOTO/Orlando SIERRA/FILES

Former Guatemalan Foreign Minister Honourable Gabriel Orellana.   Credit:

7th february, 2003  After 2 Ministerial meetings an ‘Agreement to establish a Transition Process and Confidence Building Measures between Belize and Guatemala’ is signed by Assad Shoman, Belize’s Foreign Minister; and Edgar Gutierrez, Guatemala’s new Foreign Minister, to bridge the time between the presentation of the proposals on 16th September 2002 and the time Guatemala is able and prepared to conduct a referendum


Former Foreign Minister of Belize, Assad Shoman.  


It is agreed that an OAS office is to be established in the adjacency zone

Group of friends of the Process consisting of 13 countries pledge to assist the parties in this stage of the process

5th March, 2003  People’s United Party wins General Elections for consecutive second term of government

27th August, 2003  Guatemala communique states that it has informed the OAS that the proposals in present form are unacceptable and not consistent with the laws of Guatemala and therefore does not meet the legal or political conditions necessary for the conduct of a national referendum

Guatemala commits to abiding by the COnfidence Building Measures

Belize expresses disappointment and the view that the Guatemalan action is a breach of the 7th February Agreement and thus a violation of International Law

January 2004  Oscar Berger is inaugurated as President of Guatemala

GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA - JULY 3:  Guatemalan President Oscar Berger (R) speaks at the press conference for the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin in the National Palace of Culture on July 3, 2007 in Guatemala City, Guatemala.  President Vladimir Putin is in Guatemala in support of the city of Sochi for the 119th International Olympic Committee session which starts on July 3 with the announcement of the city which will host the 2014 Winter Games. The cities up for the bid are Salzburg, Sochi and PyeongChang.  (Photo by Juan Carlos Munoz/Getty Images)

Former Guatemalan President Oscar Berger.    Credit:

24th February, 2004  The Guatemalan Foreign Ministry formally adopts the position of the past Government rejecting the Facilitators Proposals. State of impasse. Continuing informal dialogue with OAS participation occurs

7th September, 2005  Agreement on a framework for negotiations and Confidence Building Measures signed between Belize, Guatemala and the OAS

The document expressly recognises that the agreement to resolve the territorial dispute may not be reached

The agreement authorises the OAS Secretary General to advise of judicial recourse if agreement cannot be reached

The parties, with the participation of Honduras, fail to reach agreement on maritime areas principles for the Gulf of Honduras

The settlement of land boundaries is a prerequisite for the settlement of maritime boundaries

The parties fail to reach agreement on land boundary and territorial issues (as expected)

14th October, 2007  At a meeting in Washington DC at OAS headquarters, the Chief Negotiator for Belize Assad Shoman, and Guatemalan Foreign Minister Gert Rosenthal inform OAS Secretary Jose Insulza that they are unable to reach agreement on any issue and that they would be willing to submit the entire dispute to the ICJ

19th November, 2007  OAS Secretary General writes the parties recommending that the dispute is referred to the International Court of Justice for adjudication subject to the constitutional processes of Belize and Guatemala

May 2008  Belize and Guatemala signal their acceptance of the OAS Secretary General’s recommendation to refer the territorial dispute to the International Court of Justice subject to the will of the people of Belize and Guatemala

8th December, 2008  The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Belize and the Republic of Guatemala sign the ‘Special Agreement to submit Guatemala’s Territorial, Insular and Maritime Claim to the International Court of Justice’, subject to the conduct of national referenda in both countries

The referendum has never been organised or initiated in any of the countries in now, 2015. Presently, a group of Patriotic Belizeans have decided to make bold, nationalistic moves to “claim” our stake in the Sarstoon River – certainly, Guatemala takes offence to this. However, we are in our country, in tact and free and its up to our government, on behalf of the people of Belize to honour the nationalistic countenance of the people of Belize.

Long live Belize!

Belizean Flag   www.kaanabelize.comThe Proud Flag of Belize!

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