Tonight the tension between Belize and Guatemala is on the rise as Guatemala is accusing Belizean authorities of fatally shooting a thirteen year old Guatemalan minor at the Adjacency Zone.
Today at around 5:00 in the evening GOB issued a statement on the matter, we will have that for you in a few, but the first to comment on the incident was Guatemalan press, Prensa Libre, who stated that sometime between the hours of 6:00 and 7:00 yesterday evening BDF soldiers allegedly shot and killed a minor, and injured two others while they were planting pumpkin seeds near the adjacency zone.
The report alleges that 48 year old Carlos Alvarado and his sons, 11 year old Carlos Alvarado and 13 year Julio Alvarado, were shot multiple times and that the BDF carried away the 13 year old boy who had received several gunshot wounds to the body. Reports coming from family members are that the minor allegedly died in a hospital in Belize while the others were taken to the Melchor de Mencos hospital for treatment.
Other allegations are that another individual, later identified as 38-year-old Jose Maria Antonio Reyes was also captured in the adjacency zone by soldiers and remains missing.
Following the report, this afternoon Guatemalan President Jimmy Moralez issued a message where he condemns the attack on the minor, describes it as a cowardly act and directly calls on Belize to act on the matter.
Jimmy Moralez - President of Guatemala
“People of Guatemala, with deep sadness and with total condemnation, I want to communicate to our people that yesterday members of the Belize Defense Force killed another Guatemalan national with the aggravation that this time the victim is a 13-year-old. The cowardly and unconscionable attack was against the child René Alvarado Julio Ruano whose body still lies in the hands of the authority of Belize. They were attacked and wounded with firearms, his brother Carlos Alberto Alvarado of only 11 years old, and his father Carlos Alberto Alvarado 48 who were planting fricassee in the area of the adjacency zone. I ask the authorities of Belize what threat do two children, one 13 and one 11 years old, poses to its sovereignty? That fact truly causes indignation and repulsion. I want to express strong condemnation of this cowardly act of aggression and excessive use of force against children by the Belize Defense Force. Therefore I present these:
1. That the Government of Guatemala asks of the Government of Belize to put those responsible for the death of the Guatemalan minor to the authorities to be tried in the appropriate courts.
2. That we have made it known to the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights of the violation of human rights by the Belize Defense Force on these Guatemalans minors.
3. I request to the organizations for them to ensure the protection of human rights, to investigate this cowardly act by the Belize Defense Force.
4. Considering the goodwill of Guatemala and the conciliatory work by our Foreign Ministry to find a peaceful and permanent solution to the Territorial Dispute we have with Belize and to maintain and develop the good relations which is not supported by the Belize Government, I have decided that from now on we will exert strict protection to exercise the sovereignty of the Sarstoon River and all lines of adjacency to guarantee and to stop more abuse by the Belize Defense Force against Guatemalan territory and it’s People.
5. I have consulted and have decided to call our ambassador in Belize until the authorities of that country clear and resolve this unfortunate fact.
Finally, I express my deepest sympathy to the family Alvarado Ruano for this irreparable loss, and sent my solidarity in these hard times. People of Guatemala, God bless you.”
And keeping true to his word, late this evening the Government of Guatemala posted on their official twitter page, pictures of the Guatemalan military moving into the Sarstoon, the Adjacency Zone and Melchor De Mencos armed with heavy military equipment.
After seeing the immediate and sturdy reaction from the Guatemalan Government at the face of this most recent incident, it brings to mind the less than desirable response from GOB following two incidents where Belizean officials were wounded at the hands of Guatemalans.
Viewers may remember 20 year-old Special Constable Danny Conorquie, who was fatally wounded back in 2014 at the hands of Guatemalans, in Belizean territory and also the shooting incident that occurred during the Easter holiday where BDF Staff Sergeant Richard Lambey, was shot multiple times, again at the hands of Guatemalans and GOB’s response to both incidents where only a protest note sent to Guatemala.
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