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Guatemala/Belize conflict erupts following another border killing

Monday, May 16th 2016 - 07:35 UTC
Full article 42 comments

Tensions over a disputed border between Guatemala and Belize again erupted over the weekend with a new shooting incident less than a month after Belizean soldiers killed a teen. Belize said one of its patrols had to shoot and wound a Guatemalan man who threatened them with a machete after he was found on the Belize side of the border with companions illegally prospecting for gold. Read full article


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  • Conqueror

    Always a surprise. How would Guatemala know that its national didn't make threatening actions with his machete? First question has to be whether he was in territory justifying possession of a machete. Assuming that he was visited by consular officials, was he likely to admit all his offences? Still, with any luck, he'll be spending quite a few years in a Belizean prison.

    May 16th, 2016 - 08:29 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Skip

    Eventually, if Belize shoots enough of them, Guatemalans might eventually start to realise it is dangerous to illegally enter a foreign country.

    Argentineans learnt this lesson back in 1982.

    May 16th, 2016 - 08:34 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Klingon

    What would you 2 twats know about Guatemala or Belize?
    That area is heavily forested, so a machete is not out of place.
    FYI Belize city looks like New Orleans after Katrina.
    Yes I have been there if you are doubting.

    May 16th, 2016 - 09:53 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Skip

    I've been to Guatemala, Klingon.

    Have you?

    May 16th, 2016 - 10:39 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Marti Llazo

    @2 “ ...might eventually start to realise it is dangerous to illegally enter a foreign country....Argentineans learnt this lesson back in 1982....”

    Did they really “learn” ? Their memories tend to be very short on such matters; their propensity for repeating errors, long; their capacity for invention and whingeing, unlimited.

    May 16th, 2016 - 01:03 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Conqueror

    @3. You're very free with your insults. Can you read what I wrote? “First question has to be whether he was in territory justifying possession of a machete.” See whether you can comprehend the words and the context of the sentence. After that, publish a picture of where he was encountered. Seems strange to attempt prospecting for gold in a heavily forested area! Digging between the trees for pocket money, was he?

    May 16th, 2016 - 06:24 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Briton

    3 Klingon (#)
    What would you 2 twats know about Guatemala or Belize?

    To be fair here,
    what do YOU know abt these two countries.

    May 16th, 2016 - 06:53 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    According to the BBC no one was actually killed this time thankfully.

    Also they arrested the guy so the team from the OAS should be able to interview everyone and find out what happened.

    May 16th, 2016 - 08:47 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Let us reason together

    Meanwhile Morales is making political hay of this issue the point is not lost that the three men illegally entered a foreign country to illegally to pan for gold in an area where mining for gold is not viable. Guatemalan media outlets—primarily outlets for propaganda—will never let you know that Guatemalans are so desperate that they are leaving their country to exploit the resources of other nations in the vicinity. the failure of the Guatemalan government to furnish its citizens with the means to livelihood is destabilizing all of Central America, and political grandstanding will never solve the problems of Guatemala. If the Guatemalans have objections to Belizean domestic issues, the matter should have been dealt with through diplomatic channels rather than through the biased media. Belize has protocols and mechanisms in place to handle issues of this nature and are quite trustworthy in their accounting. At some point the people of Guatemala will see through the impotence and failure of the Morales administration..

    May 16th, 2016 - 10:14 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Skip

    If I saw a soldier or anyone in authority, especially one that had a gun, I would drop a machete instantly.

    However considering their intelligence level of prospecting for gold illegally across a disputed border where someone had recently been shot and killled..... it isn't surprising he didn't drop it.

    May 16th, 2016 - 10:51 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    Yeah charging armed soldiers while wielding a machete seems pretty suicidal.

    I guess they must think it's worth the risk to find gold. Is the border even marked though or is it just an invisible line in the jungle?

    May 16th, 2016 - 10:57 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • PA-Ir

    This situation is getting out of hand, the Guatemalan government has to caution its people against doing illegal things in Belize, instead they encourage them, even the military is crossing into Belize, where is the world governing bodies to strongly reprimand Guatemala against such provocative actions Blocking our military on a river that is clearly Belizean territory. If they are saying ICJ, then wait until then and don't cross into another country. Today sir Richard and Angelina Jolie Pitt spoke on the refugees situation in Europe, a war in Central America will cause the same into Mexico, Honduras and the US.

    May 16th, 2016 - 11:13 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    The world governing bodies are too busy wringing their hands and doing nothing about the civil wars in Syria and Ukraine.

    Isn't the OAS supposed to be doing something though?

    May 16th, 2016 - 11:50 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Marti Llazo

    @9 “..... the failure of the Guatemalan government to furnish its citizens with the means to livelihood .....”

    Does this person understand that it is not the role or responsibility of the Guatemalteco government “.... to furnish its citizens with the means for a livelihood” ?

    @ 10 “....If I saw a soldier or anyone in authority, especially one that had a gun, I would drop a machete instantly...”

    I have heard the expression, “Never take a knife to a gunfight.”


    @ 13 ”....Isn't the OAS supposed to be doing something...?

    Doing something? They can't even get their members to pay their dues.

    One of the world's truly toothless organisations.

    May 17th, 2016 - 03:15 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • PA-Ir

    Belize needs to go to the UN Security Council. The world seems to going out of control, where are the ones who are suppose to be in charge.

    May 17th, 2016 - 03:49 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Think

    (15) PA-Ir
    Belizean Armed Farces need to stop shooting unarmed civilians and concocting sick excuses nobody in its right mind can believe. The Belizean Armed Farces seem to be going out of control, where are the ones who are suppose to be in charge?

    May 18th, 2016 - 05:33 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Let us reason together

    To Martin llazo: you need to understand that in Guatemala most of the land is in the hands of a select few. Part of the reason why Guatemalan peasants are crossing into Belize is because they do not have access to land to grow crops and feed their families. The right wing government in Guatemala is the problem. If the right wing government would encourage a more reasonable apportionment of land, support better land management, and support programs that encourage economic development especially among the indigenous people, these men would not be so desperate enough to enter a foreign country illegally and appropriate its economic resources. These men were not caught along the border but five kilometers into Belize. They were not in any contested zones but in the interior of Belize itself. They were in Belize illegally and while there, they were mining for gold illegally in an area where they would find nothing but trace amounts of gold. The rain forest in that portion of Belize is in a precarious state and on the Guatemalan side of the border, there is no longer a forest but a deforested wasteland. Yes, it is the duty to government to empower its citizens to lead full and rich lives. Shame on the government of Guatemala..

    May 18th, 2016 - 08:27 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Think

    (17) Mr. Let us reason together...

    Most of what you say is correct... except where you say that...:
    “ They were not in any contested zones but in the interior of Belize itself. ”

    I say...:
    As far as I know, ALL the territory south of the Sibún (Siboon) river is “contested territory” since 1859...

    Either way...,
    Shooting poor unarmed peasants of any race or nationality is not a way of “reason together” but a very stupid thing to do...

    Patagonian greetings
    El Think...

    May 18th, 2016 - 09:25 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • PA-Ir

    I would like to ask Mr. Think what he would do if shot at from the dark(1) OR APPROACHED BY A MATCHETE WIELDING MANIAC. You should try and be a little more reasonable and not jump to hasty conclusion that can lead to war. Even though we are few, as much as possible we must defend our territory. Guatemalans shot one of our soldiers a few weeks ago, no OAS official has visited him, but they visit the so call innocent families in Guatemala, they are just like you. bias.

    May 18th, 2016 - 12:42 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Think

    Shooting of unarmed civilians by Armed Farces patrols is just bad juju...
    Be it in Bolivia..., Bangladesh..., Benin... or Belize...

    May 18th, 2016 - 02:12 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Klingon

    Skippy, Yes for your info I have been to Belize and have lived in Guatemala.
    I may go back next year for some game fishing action.

    May 18th, 2016 - 02:25 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • McGregor


    I don't know about Patagonia but even in good old blighty, if carrying a machete and stopped by Police or army - I'm pretty sure I would drop it or at the very least sheath it.......If not, I'd very likely be on the wrong end of a Taser at best !

    If the Belizeans had so chosen they could have claimed a fight broke out and shot the whole lot, leaving no witnesses to prove otherwise. The fact that only one Guatemalan got shot and then only in the arm, tends to support Belizean Patrols version in my book......wouldn't you agree ?

    May 18th, 2016 - 05:46 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • PA-Ir

    Think you go and read that 1859 treaty before you spew out more hateful things about Belize. It was the Guatemalan who requested and agreed on those markers because they were afraid of the Baymen venturing further into what was presumed to be Guatemala. They even wanted a defense guarantee from the British against invasion by the US civil war heroes. Its all there, go to history and it is documented so you can make informed decision. You really hate the British and now your hate has been directed at us in Belize. Come and see how many Guatemalans are living peacefully in Belize, cant you realize the Guatemalan government is using this as a decoy for their real work, providing and governing their people. Why do you a self professed intelligent man not see this obvious nonsense.It angers me to think that there a people like this yet in the world. Hate will get you no where. Plese read the treaty and then you will understand better. The British had pledged 50,000 pounds for the road, they fell short and could not benefit from a tremendous business venture that would have benefitted them. Now they come and claim road wasn't complete, it was only a good will gesture, and they did not do their part to collect. READ!!!!Baseless claim, that's what they have.

    May 18th, 2016 - 06:20 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Think

    (22) Dear bearer of the most noble & unabolishable name of McGregor...
    Nope..., I do not agree...
    In my book..., heavily armed military patrols shooting unarmed civilians anywhere in the world have the same credibility as a Campbell...
    Ergo = None.
    Besides... In this specific and delicate case, time and place..., it beggars belief that, among all that modern military equipment donated to the Belizean Armed Farces by the Canadian, American and British Armed Farces..., there is NOT A SINGLE HELMET CAM that would effectively clear any doubt this humble Patagonian or any other Thinking person in this planet may have...

    (23) PA-Ir
    Please refer to one single comment of mine in this or any previous threads that are “hateful” against former British Honduras or the Former British Empire...
    Asking any Armed Farce in the World not to fire upon unarmed civilians is not hate matey... Is just the proper thing to do...

    May 18th, 2016 - 07:24 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • LEPRecon

    @24 Think

    But the Belize military didn't fire upon unarmed civilians. The civilian in questions was armed with a machete and tried to attack them. That makes your comment irrelevant.

    There is no armed force in the world, or indeed police force in the world, that wouldn't have opened fire with either firearms or other means (such as tasers). It's called the right to self defence. It's enshrined in the laws of civilised countries as a right.

    If this man was too stupid to realise that attacking armed soldiers wouldn't have the outcome of him getting shot, then that's his own fault. He should be thankful that he lived because the soldiers had the right to shoot to kill.

    Even the Laws of Armed Conflict (the Geneva Conventions to the lay person) allows soldiers to shoot armed civilians in self defence if attacked. Note the word 'armed'. Note the word 'attacked'. Which is precisely what happened.

    I know that as an Argentine that YOUR military historically opened fire on unarmed people and 'disappeared' them, but in civilised countries that was and still is frowned upon.

    Hey Think! The British used the right to self defence in 1982 after a bunch a heavily armed soldiers from Argentina bravely held the unarmed population of the Falklands hostage. Those 'brave' armed soldiers staged mock executions, illegally imprisoned the people without proper facilities (such as food and water) and then refused to leave when a legally binding UNSC resolution ordered them to. So the British invoked the right to self defence. It's all written down in international law under Article 51 of the UN Charter.

    So if nations can use force in the right to self defence, so can individuals.

    May 18th, 2016 - 09:36 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Marti Llazo

    Who you can shoot depends on your ROE - rules of engagement. If an “unarmed civilian” is driving a vehicle that is approaching your checkpoint just a little too fast and in the opinion of those guarding seems disinclined to play along with the rather conspicuously identified checkpoint, then most modern warfare ROEs call for neutralising that “unarmed civilian.” That's because that sort of behaviour has been considered hostile and vehicles can be considered weapons, even if certain international conventions may not be terribly clear on such points. Likewise an “unarmed civilian” who attempts to come inside your rather conspicuous wire may well be assumed to be acting in a hostile manner and is not likely to receive the benefit of a gentle patdown. You don't personally care for those ROEs? Tell it to the Marines.

    May 18th, 2016 - 10:04 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • PA-Ir

    Think when you sit from your living room drinking a cold glass of milk ,beer or whatever else,it may seem like a little mischief to do what you are doing,or even philosophical.But when you have your family in harms way or a possible radical change of lifestyle like what can be the out come from these situations,its a whole different ball game.It infuriates me to know that you consistently act as if you a travelled person cant understand these simple facts. You consistently attack our story our side of the story and believe a lying war monger from Guatemala.If you research this you will find that every time this military government comes to power in Guatemala they interfere with Belize. Don't they have conflict with Mexico as well, their actions are completely different. They were quick to post that the British presence here a few weeks ago was only for training, ie to inform their people. If Hitler was stopped in time, there would have not been a world war 2,but those who could have said something stood idle by. World peace is world peace, and Guatemala should be told to move out of Belize ,they have already occupied the Sarstoon, which is a clear violation of the 1859 treaty, and the accepted border of Belize as was approved by the UN in 1981 for our independence.You don't comment on that,you keep on saying that we shot a 13 year old,for crying out loud,his father took him on a mission to shoot at our soldiers from the dark, He is the guilty one. A fool who approaches armed soldiers with a machete is asking for it, already breaking the law. Tazers are for police not soldiers. Arguing against this can only be likened to hate friend ,there can be no other motive. They too are afraid of the Gurkhas I hope it never comes down to war. there are endless Salvadoran, Hondurans and other central Americans here,what if these countries retaliate if their citizens are killed.Do you want your hate for Belize to plunge Central America back to the 1980's war all over?Please Think

    May 18th, 2016 - 11:32 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Let us reason together

    machete is a useful farm implement when it used to cut away brush; when a person wields it as a weapon it can be quite deadly. When someone waves a machete in a threatening manner and then proceeds to advance on another person, that threatened individual has a right to defend himself. In some parts of Gautemala, people tend to harbor deep distrust of law enforcement who are notorious for being corrupt. That the Belizean military followed established protocol and reported this incident to the Guatemalan consulate shows that they were not in the least interested in human abuses but in keeping the peace. A more corrupt armed force would have killed these gentlemen and buried them without any mention of the matter. When a person stands accused of a crime he cannot retaliate against the people who are tasked with keeping the peace, rather such an individual should contest the evidence against him in court and in so doing secure his freedom.

    May 19th, 2016 - 06:02 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • McGregor


    Think of Think as the bit of grit in an oyster. I usually disagree with almost everything he says. I suspect we are polar opposites, politically & hemispherically. However, strangely, I think I would really enjoy a day out fly fishing with him.

    Once in a while he comes up with something - helmet cams ? Why not - “don't tell them show them”. I know your military are not police, however they are “policing the border” and not at war. Just because you carry a gun doesn't preclude also carrying a Tazer.

    May 19th, 2016 - 06:14 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • PA-Ir

    A knife in a Gurkhas hand is as good as a gun. I know some of the Guatemalan peasants he speaks about, they are good with a matchete. Tazer, helmet cam in the thick jungle. It would be worth a try, hopefully not unduly endangering any one.

    May 19th, 2016 - 06:59 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Marti Llazo

    “A knife in a Gurkhas hand is as good as a gun. ”

    Silliest comment so far today.

    @29 “...would really enjoy a day out fly fishing with [Think] ...”

    Not if you plan on catching any fish. Some people are not even suitable to use as fishbait.

    May 19th, 2016 - 09:19 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • PA-Ir

    Marti do your research, my point was that some of these Guatemalan Peasants are dangerous up close with a machete, you put a sword in a samurai's hand and you get a very dangerous adversary to contend with. Our soldiers are been asked to take chances, their response must be after they have been attacked, this is crazy.

    May 19th, 2016 - 11:47 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Marti Llazo

    @32 --

    Never take a knife to a gunfight.

    May 20th, 2016 - 01:48 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • PA-Ir

    Gurkhas are closely associated with the khukuri, a forward-curving Nepalese knife and have a well known reputation for their fearless military prowess. The former Indian Army Chief of Staff Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, once stated that[7] “If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or is a Gurkha.”
    Again my point is that depend on who you face,what they have in their hand can be deadly. Guatemalan farmers use a matchete every day, they know how to use it. Our Soldiers must defend themselves. They might be meeting “CUCHILLO SANCHEZ”.

    May 20th, 2016 - 03:22 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Clyde15

    Just a question. Why do the Argentine police carry side arms ? They work among a civilian population. I presume that they would not use their weapons if someone came at them with a machete ?
    I see you are acting as a pseudo Scot “Laird of the glen” again evoking a 300 year old history that has NO RELEVANCE to a “died- in- the- wool” Argentinian.
    Are you so pissed off with your own nationality that you have to “borrow” another ? Or are you actually Scottish acting as an agent provocateur for some unknown reason. I don't know of any Scot apart from Galloway who would agree with you on your attitude to the Falklands. Voice does and although he lives in Scotland, his nationality is unknown as he refuses to answer this one.

    May 20th, 2016 - 09:28 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Think

    (35) Lowlander Clyde15
    At least you know one True Scotsman....; Mr. Galloway...
    One can no other but luvvv the way he rrrrolls his rrrrrrr's...

    May 20th, 2016 - 09:48 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Clyde15

    It just shows how out of touch you are with anything Scottish if you believe that.

    Define a true Scotsman. One that conforms to your Brig O'Doon fanciful imagination ?
    I notice that you post at about 05:48 B.A. time - 20 minutes after I made my post. Do you have insomnia?
    About your fixation with the name Campbell. What is this all about and what has it got to do with you? Plenty of Campbells in the West Indies. Do you dislike them also ? I had a great aunt named MacDonald, living in Glencoe, who married a Campbell. His surname did not seem to bother her.

    By the way, if you are of Scandinavian descent, you have a cheek calling Anglos pirates. You are a descendant of such charmers as Ragnar Hairy Breeks, Ivor the Boneless, Cnut the Great -be careful with a malapropism on that one

    Your lot were the biggest shower of murdering rapists and slavers on the planet.

    May 20th, 2016 - 02:08 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • McGregor


    What measures are the Belizean Government taking to protect your country. If it is waiting for the rest of the world to sort your problems out I genuinely fear for your future. Neither the UN, OAS or EU have ever been effective in sorting anything out other than maybe a “No fly Zone” or perhaps innefective sanctions ! Look at what happened in Yugoslavia and how many died before Europe/UN finally got its act together ?

    If you want an example of what can be done (and this is the only case that I would cite this country as an example) Look at Israel. It cannot afford a large standing army but every citizen has to perform National Service. At times of crisis it can mobilise a sizeable chunk of its population in a few days. Sufficient to deter multiple powerful neighbors at once.

    You cannot expect foreign soldiers to die to defend your country when the Belizeans themselves don't appear to be making much of an effort ?

    May 20th, 2016 - 02:32 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Think

    (37) Lowlander Clyde15

    No insomnia..., just ineurope at the moment...

    Me Viking forefathers were, indeed, a bit rough on the edges... but then they became good Christians...

    That was some years ago...

    May 20th, 2016 - 02:39 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • McGregor

    @37 Clyde...... “fixation with the name Cambell”

    James VI of Scotland abolished the name McGregor, on pain of death, after clan war with the Cambell's ........which is why Think references it when I post. (Excellent knowledge for a humble Patagonian don't you think.)

    I'm intrigued as to why Think sticks with the generic “Scandanavian” rather than Norwegian, Finnish, Danish or Swedish...... unless its perm any two from the four from the parental point of view?

    May 20th, 2016 - 05:35 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • PA-Ir

    Mc Gregor,I agree with you 100%.Our current situation now is a worrisome one,we are caught unprepared.I hope that this will be the next move home,train everyone.Our soldiers are excellent ,they have won awards in the schools they attend,we have Rangers,Seals,etc,but not enough of them.We are 300,000 plus,with 1/2 of that battle ready,it will be a different situation,shouldnt take moe than 1 year to achieve that properly planned.We don't want nor expect anyone to come and die for us,but most Belizeans expect that our former colonizers would be there to assist, they know the answers now. Recently the Guats trembled when the British showed up for an annual agricultural fair, they felt they were back, they quickly informed their people it wasn't permanent. We need the British to give us say 2 years so we can prepare, that's my belief.To have peace you must prepare for war.

    May 20th, 2016 - 06:35 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Clyde15

    Humble Patagonian? Thou jest. I just do not understand his fixation with things Scottish.
    By the way, the spelling is Campbell with a P. My aunt was also a MacGregor.

    May 20th, 2016 - 07:56 pm - Link - Report abuse 0

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