A colonial-era border dispute still hampers Belizean-Guatemalan diplomatic relations, as Guatemala lays claim to much of Belizean territory. Last week, Jimmy Morales oversaw a nation-wide referendum on whether to make a formal claim to Belizean territory with the International Court of Justice, a play unlike the periodic military mobilizations of the 20th century. With this, it looks as if Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales, a former comedian, means business.
“In total, the court would rule on an area containing 43% of Belize’s people, 50% of its exports and 38% of its GDP. “If Belize wins, we win nothing,” says Osmond Martinez, a professor at Galen University in Belmopan, who expects Belizeans to vote no. “If we lose, we lose 12,000 [square] km of our country.” If the case does reach the ICJ, the court is expected to take up to four years to rule. And now that Guatemala has in effect given Belize a veto over its own dismemberment, if Belize does vote no, passions are likely to wane further.”
For more information, check out the full article in The Economist