Introduction to Belizean History 1014 Sec 5
The Belize Guatemala Dispute
The Belize-Guatemala Territorial Dispute Is an unresolved bi-national territorial dispute between the state of Belize and Guatemala, neighbors in Central America. Belize or Belizean- controlled territory has been claimed in whole or in part by Guatemala since 1940. Now in 2013 they plan to claim Belize again. “British Honduras faced two obstacles to independence: British reluctance until the early 1960s to allow citizens to govern themselves, and Guatemala's complete intransigence over its long-standing claim to the entire territory (Guatemala had repeatedly threatened to use force to take over British Honduras). By 1961, the United Kingdom was willing to let the colony become independent. From 1964 the UK controlled only defense, foreign affairs, internal security, and the terms and conditions of the public service. On 1 June 1973, the colony's name was change to Belize in anticipation of independence. After 1975 the UK allowed the colonial government to internationalize its case for independence, so Belizeans participated in international diplomacy even before the area became a sovereign nation. The stalemate in the protracted negotiations between the UK and Guatemala over the future status of Belize led Belizeans to seek the international community's assistance in resolving issues associated with independence. The independent republics that emerged from the disintegrating Spanish Empire in the 1820s claimed that they had inherited Spain's sovereign rights in the area. The UK, however, never accepted such a doctrine. Based on this doctrine of inheritance, Mexico and Guatemala asserted claims to Belize. Mexico once claimed the portion of British Honduras north of the Sibun River but dropped the claim in a treaty with Britain in 1893. Since then, Mexico has stated that it would revive the claim only if Guatemala were successful in obtaining all or part of the nation. Still,...
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