The Guatemalan Claim Pt. 9


14th January, 2000  Jose Portillio inaugurated as President of Guatemala attended by Prime Minister Musa. In his inaugural speech he assures the intention of his Government to do everything possible to find a definitive solution

24th January, 2000  Guatemalan national shot and killed by BDF return fire in Sapote area of the Caracol Archaeological Reserve, a major marijuana cultivating area

Map with Caracol Reserve   ambergriscaye.comMap including the Caracol Reserve.   Credit:

16th January, 2000  Prime Minister Musa informas a Press Conference that he had written Guatemalan Foreign Minister Gabriel Orellana expressing regret over the incident, providing an official report, and inviting participation in a joint investigation

Prime Minister Musa also announces the holding of a Belize/Guatemala technical meeting to be held in Miami on 25th february

The Press Conference is informed of the appointment of a new National Advisory Council on the Guatemalan claim

24th February, 2000  Guatemalan armed forces abduct 4 member BDF/Police patrol in the Tree Tops area of San Vicente Belize

25th February, 2000  Belize protests Guatemalan incursion, demanding release of its security personnel

Belize withdraws from Miami technical meeting

3rd March, 2000  Belize/Guatemala finalises agenda for Ministerial meeting to establish Facilitation Process under the auspices of the Organisation of the American States. Meeting scheduled for 17th July, 2000 in Washington DC

27th May, 2000  Guatemalan Army Patrol enters Belize and stops road work of Ministry of Works unit near San Vicente under threat of detention told that they are in Guatemalan territory

Belize protests on 29th May, Guatemala denies on 1st June

17th July, 2000  Foreign Minister of Belize and Guatemala agree to a one year facilitation Process of and appoint a panel of two facilitators with the Secretary General  of the Organisation of American States Witness of Honour to help to help the parties to agree to confidence building measures, and to find a definitive and honourable solution to the territorial dispute

Paul Reichler   www.iei.uchile.clPaul Reichler, Facilitator for Guatemala.  Credit:

Belize selects Sir Shridath Ramphal as its facilitator. Guatemala  selects Paul Reichler, a US attorney

ramphal  www.guyanatimesinternational.comSir Shridath Ramphal, Facilitator for Belize.  


The Ministers also agree to meetings:

  • Defence Ministers to establish coordination  mechanism by the Armed Forces
  • Meeting at San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, on 11/12 August results in agreement to exchange Military Attaches and to conduct semi annual high level military meetings
  • Two other meetings held
  • Mixed Commission for confidence building activities – COmmission meets in Guatemala City to prepare agenda and in Belize City on 14/15 December, Guatemala raise issues outside terms of reference; meeting inconclusive
  • To develop bilateral agreement for trade and mutual protection of investments – partial scope trade agreement negotiated and eventually signed on

8th November, 2000  Agreement of Confidence Building Measures, prepared by Facilitators in constitution with the parties, signed by the Foreign Ministers. Establishing 1 kilometre  deep adjacency zones on east and west side of the border with reference to border as ‘adjacency line’ during facilitation process

Also includes provisions to locate map and clear all markers on the border and protocol to jointly address encroachments

17th December, 2000  BDF discovers Guatemalan settlement at Rio Blanco in the Chiquibul National Park beyond the adjacency zone. Guatemala notified and invited to do joint verification

Belize asks Facilitators to arrange investigation and to recommend mechanism  for removal

Belize_Defence_Force_emblem   en.wikipedia.orgThe Belize Defence Force Emblem.  Credit:


1st January, 2001  BDF discovers Guatemalan settlement in Machaquila in the Colombia Forest Reserve, outside the adjacency zone

Guatemala notifies and invited to do joint verification

Guatemala  responds that there should be no removals until Facilitators verify

State of high tension exists. Parties agree to  review misunderstandings arriving from attempt to implement the 6th November Agreement

17th January, 2001  Foreign Ministers sign Plan of Action to implement 8th November 2000 agreement on Confidence Building Measures in Miami, USA. Plan contains 2 protocols for the removal of illegal settlements

Plan allows for the Pan American Institute of Geography and History (PAIGH) to determine the coordinates of the markers at Gracias A Dios Falls, Garbutt’s Falls, and Aguas Turbias with the identification of the adjacency line along these  points. Following this, the location of the illegal settlements, now four in number, from the nearest point on the border is to be determined

The PAIGH confirms that all settlements are in Belize and they are peacefully removed and relocated into Guatemala with the collaboration of the International Organisation of Migration (IOM)

Significant reduction in tension achieved enabling confirmation of Facilitation Process

25th April, 2001  Foreign Ministers, Facilitators and OAS Secretary General meet at OAS headquarters in Washington DC

José Miguel InsulzaJose Miguel Insulza, OAS Secretary General.  Credit:

They agree on general guidelines and time frame for the oral presentation of arguments on the dispute before the Panel of Facilitators and the OAS Secretary General

21st – 23rd May, 2001  Belize and Guatemala present their arguments to the Facilitators

July, 2001  Because of the lengthy time spent negotiating and implementing the Plan of Action for the Confidence Building Measures, the Parties agree to a one year extension of the facilitation period to enable the Facilitators to develop proposals for resolving the dispute. This includes consultations with Honduras with maritime areas issues

22nd November, 2001  Four Guatemalans shot and killed by BDF Unit near San Vicente, Toledo. The BDF Unit was investigating threats issued against a Belizean National. The BDF responded in self-defence after being threatened by the Guatemalans

OAS investigation report says use of disproportionate force by BDF and recommends ex gratis payments to relatives of deceased. Complied with by the Government of Belize

Commission of inquiry find the BDF personnel are not criminally responsible for deaths

13th April, 2002  President Portillo and Prime Minister Musa meet with Facilitators in Guatemala City to receive progress report on process

Pres Portillo Guat Guatemalan President Portillo.  Credit:


15th April, 2002  OAS completes Mission to assess established settlements on the Belize side of the border. Of four communities visited, one, Santa Rosa, considers itself Guatemalan

16th September, 2002  OAS Secretary General presents proposals of the Facilitators to the Foreign Ministers of Belize and Guatemala. The Honduran Foreign Minister is present

In the next, and final timeline blog we will discuss the history to December 8th, 2008. The historical corpus continues…

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