Potential Hot Spots: March 30, 2000

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For over a  century, the border between the Central American nations of Belize and Guatemala have been in dispute. In 1972, Guatemala talked of invasion, but Belize was then still a British colony and Britain brought in combat troops to calm down the invasion talk. In 1982, Britain tried to solve the problem by redrawing the border before granting Belize independence. Guatemala still felt that 4,500 square miles of Belize territories was theirs. But in 1992, Guatemala agreed to recognize the border. But the animosities have not gone away. In the Fall of 1999, Belize border police killed two Guatemalan civilians near the border. In February, 2000, Guatemalan police arrested three Belize soldiers and a police officer who had crossed the border heavily laden with weapons. All of a sudden the border issue is in the headlines again. However, the 1999 incident apparently was part of an anti-drug operation and the February arrests were more because most of the border is largely unmarked. But recently a bomb was found under a car near the Belize embassy in Guatemala. Tensions continue to rise.

 

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