Belize Guatemala Mexico border


Date: Thu, 2 Mar 2000 19:41:00 -0500
Reply-To: Doug Murray
Sender: int-boundaries
From: Doug Murray
Subject: Belize-Guatemala-Mexico border
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Interesting news from the Belize/Guatemala border region. The following appeared in the Belizian newspaper, The Reporter. Border security key issue Belize-Mexico-Guatemala Belize beefs up border patrols While Belize is engaging in border talks with both Guatemala and Mexico, the tone of these talks could not be more different. In light of the most recent incident with the capture of four Belize security officers last week, which was preceded by deadly belize soldiers-Guatemalan civilians confrontations earlier this year and last year, talks with Guatemala have been tense. But in the north, Belize and Mexico are working together to cut down on the illegal activities along the borderline. Last week in their third annual border security meeting in Belize City, the two countries co-ordinated their efforts to beef up border security. Ministry of National Security and Immigration Permanent Secretary Allan Usher headed the Belize delegation and said he was optimistic about the binational effort to stem criminal activities along the over 300 miles border stretch. Usher said that Belize has already deployed additional resources to patrolling our side of the border, including more manpower to deter illegal activities, particularly smuggling, and transhipment of illegal drugs and firearms. These border patrols include police, BDF, Customs and Immigration officials. Mexican ambassador to Belize, His Excellency Lic. Enrique Hubbard Urrea, said he is optimistic that Belize and Mexico can join their efforts to solve common problems. Especially since security officers from both countries target criminals rather than each other. He said that criminals along the border appeared to have a better communication network than law enforcement officers and that there was an urgent need to have both countries improve on their effort to combat crimes in the area, hence the annual border security meetings. Urrea said: “We were worried about and needed to exchange information on weapons trafficking – if there was any, how it is going on and what we can do to stop it. We found out that guns are being smuggled into Belize, right through the legal process. In these cases from the USA, through Mexico into Belize.” With regard to increasing traffic congestion caused by Mexicans flooding the border to shop at the Corozal Free Zone, Ambassador Urrea told Reporter the situation has caught them by surprise and his government is studying the situation. Illegal immigration is also a source of concern for both countries. Mexican officials have been deporting to Belize illegal immigrants, mostly Hondurans reports say, trying to get to the United States. While these illegals are not Belizeans, since Belize was their last legal port of entry, they are sent back here. Belize is then left with the bill associated with incarcerating and deporting these illegals. This situation is a particular concern for the Department of Corrections which is constantly complaining that the prison is overcrowded and jailing illegal immigrants is not helping the situation. Mexico does not see illegal entry as a criminal offence, but rather an administration problem. As a result, those entering illegally are not subject to imprisonment, but are deported as soon as possible. *** Cheers, Doug Murray Senior Producer Vancouver Television Promotions Television is the only way to escape without leaving home! tel: 604.609.5830 fax 604.609.5896

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