Dem Dirtay Gon Tek Me Lan
By Rotten Tacos
I want you to call a Guatemalan — right now — and ask them one question: “Es Belice una parte de Guatemala? (Is Belize a part of Guatemala?)”. The answer will be “Si”. Dragging on since before Jesus Christ rode dinosaurs, Guatemala and Belize have reignited their lovers dispute: Who owns Belize? In Guatemala, Belize is mapped as part of Guatemala. To a Belizean, this is a load of bull and them crazy Guatemalans jus try steal belease cus don go be ma beauty de que de hav o yonder.
A bit of history: Let’s blame Spain. And Britain. And maybe some angry Scotsmen and some guy in 1859 that forgot to build a road. 1494 – Spain makes a bad treaty. The Mayan Belizeans kill the Spaniards, leaving room for Scottish Baymen to move in and become lumberjacks.
1670 — Spain makes a bad treaty. They “forget” who owns what (…the Mayans) and do a shit job of drawing lines, using this to stake a claim on land England had already staked. Baymen give Spain and the Queen the middle finger saying “Sod off. We got this. We run Belize.”
1783 — Britain makes a bad treaty. They leave Belize alone on the playground and Spain plays finders keepers. They let the Baymen stay to cut all the mahogany and they’re like “Sod off. We got this. We run Belize”. Spain tries to kick them out (let’s think about the size of a Spaniard vs. Scottish lumberjack and guess who won). But the Baymen didn’t get a bad treaty and kept running their laissez faire Caribbean logging company. Britain was like “Whatevs” but included Belize in the empire in 1862… like that time you had a boyfriend but he didn’t know it.
1821 — Guatemala is free. 1859 —Guatemala makes a bad treaty. They “recognize” Belize, and Britain pinky swears to build a road to Belize. But they never did and Guatemala got really mad and threw all of Britain’s clothes out the window and set their car on fire.
1940 — Guatemala remembers a road wasn’t built 80 years ago and says 1859 is null. Belize is theirs! This goes over as well as telling your 4 year old niece you ate Bambi. Belize, independent in 1981, says “WE don sigh no treat, sew WE no gun da dew nufin”, telling Guatemala to shove it.
1991 — Guatemala “recognizes Belize’s independence”. 1999 – Guatemala takes it back. Disregarding 1859 (again), Guatemala claims inheritance of Spain’s 1494/1800’s bad treaties, saying they’re owed 53% of Belize. So, to be clear, Guatemala is now using their former colonizing oppressors antiquated 500+ year old treaties to take over the neighboring formerly colonized and oppressed (and now independent) country’s land. Secretly, the Spanish were just really good at delegating.
Belizeans still aren’t keen on the idea of becoming Guatemalan, now being an independent nation internationally recognized by the global community in every country except Guatemala. Last year international court asked them to vote on it, however Belize isn’t ready and Guatemala forgot. The growing dispute escalated the last week of April with the debated shooting of a 13 year old Guatemalan on the Belizean border and continued illegal fishing and logging on a “shared” river border. Fret not though, for President Jimmy Morales is on the case saying “Something is happening right now, we are about to lose Belize. We have not lost it yet.” My question then is: How do you lose something that was never yours to begin with?