Guatemala adding fuel to Belize dispute
THE EDITOR, Sir:
As a Belizean American citizen, I hereby congratulate The Gleaner for its editorial on what Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nations should do to Guatemala for failing to comply with the binding agreement it signed with Belize to take their dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for final resolution.
Guatemala is not going to go to the ICJ because it is convinced that most Belizeans will vote no to go to the ICJ with this dispute, and the Guatemalan government does not want this matter to be resolved once and for all through the courts.
Successive Guatemalan governments have been using this issue for decades to divert their people's attention from more serious internal problems their country is experiencing and to obtain power during the elections.
Under international law, the government of Belize, on its own, is proceeding to conduct its referendum on October 6 this year as scheduled. However, if the government gets a 'no' vote from the Belizean people, such an exercise would serve no meaningful purpose. Now, Guatemala is currently engaging in a series of political tactics and propaganda to aggravate Belizeans so that they can vote no.
Based on my analysis of my people's sentiments, Guatemala is winning its public-relations campaign because Belizeans are so angry and fed up with this whole matter that if the vote is done now, they would vote no to the ICJ.
I wish my people were to vote yes so that we could proceed to the ICJ without Guatemala. CARICOM, OAS and the UN can force Guatemala to abide by the special agreement it signed in 2008.
WELLINGTON C. RAMOS
Adjunct Professor - History
Brooklyn, New York