old_brdgeIn the month of June 2013 Mexican business entrepreneurs from Subteniente Lopez, a Mexican community bordering the Belize/Mexico Border, staged a protest at the mouth of the new International Bridge Chactemal, connecting Belize and Mexico. Due to the protest, a number of Belizeans traveling in an out of Mexico were left stranded at the border for hours.

Viewers might recall that more than one hundred angry villagers and small business owners carried out the protest in efforts of attracting the attention of their Government to lobby with the Belizean Government and reopen the old bridge. They claimed that since the opening of the new bridge the small town’s economy went down and many local merchants were even forced to close their businesses. This is because tourists, including Belizeans, no longer have the need to pass through the community better known as Santa Elena to access Chetumal.

With the economy of Subteniente Lopez at risk, State Government representatives will meet next Thursday in Belmopan City, with Mexico's ambassador Mario Velázquez Suarez. They will request his intervention in the negotiations for the reopening of the old bridge.

Reports coming out of the Mexican community indicate that seven locations that were on the main avenue of Subteniente Lopez have closed their curtains and more than 150 are bankrupt. Reports also suggest that only 20 of the 40 combis that provided services to visitors are functioning.

Adrian Garcia Moran, owner of Moran Hotel has stated that before the closing of the old bridge, average occupancy was at 60 percent, but after the closing occupation dropped to zero.

Authorities intend to apply to the Ministry of Communications and Transport in the state, to place signs that will identify the location of the town and promote its hotels and restaurants in order to attract tourists.

We will keep you informed on the results of the reunion in Belmopan.

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