Belize Recent History

On May 20, 1973 London announced that on the following June 1, the colony would resume the original name of Belize (with the capital Balmopan), no longer British Honduras, reiterating, however, that its complete independence would not be sanctioned as long as the claims lasted from Guatemala claims badly viewed by the entire population.

After several years of self-government decolonization, Belize finally achieved independence, in 1981, however always within the Commonwealth, but British troops remained on the territory to guarantee its defense against the continuous threats of annexation by Guatemala which, while claiming its historical rights, hid the actual ones that were exclusively economic.

In fact, with the annexation of Belize, Guatemala would have guaranteed an outlet on the Atlantic for its northern regions and a possible exploitation of oil if there had been.

According to Abbreviationfinder, an acronym site which also features history of Belize, several attempts at compromise were made but those who worked seriously to settle the long-standing issue was a civilian government, formed in 1986 in Guatemala, which re-established diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom, which had been interrupted for 23 years, and favored in 1987 the resumption of negotiations.

In May 1988, in fact, a Commission was appointed composed of the representatives of the 3 concerned, and a treaty was drawn up which put an end to the diatribe and established precise borders between the two states of Belize and Guatemala.

The first internal elections interrupted the dominance of the PUP, whose leader G. Price had been in government since 1964 and gave the victory to the Democratic Union Party (UDP) and the presidency to M. Esquivel. He sought to turn the economy around with a liberal trade and favor the influx of foreign capital.

Then, however, there was a conflict with the PUP which overturned the course of politics by winning the 1989 elections. G. Price returned to power.

In January 1991, following the improved relations with Guatemala, Belize was admitted to the “Organization of American States”.

Belize Recent History

In September 1991 there was an important turning point in the long-standing diatribe with Guatemala, also due to the territorial claims of this last.

The two countries finally reached an agreement under which, having Belize agreed on a limitation of its territorial waters, it gave Guatemala the opportunity to access the Caribbean Sea, through the stabilization of the maritime borders of the “Bay of Amatique”.

And with this, having fallen the main cause of discord, naturally economic, of Guatemala, its president J. Serrano Elias recognized the sovereign state of Belize and ratified this agreement officially in Parliament in November 1992.
Subsequently, in April 1993, a non-aggression pact was signed between the two countries, so that the British military could leave Belize.

In June 1993 R. de Leon Carpio became President of Guatemala who did not consider the issue of the claims on Belize closed in which, similarly, conflicts had arisen within the government, especially between elements of the same governing party, the People’s United Party.


All this led to early elections which took place in June 1993 giving the majority to the United Democratic Party. Price was replaced by the new premier M. Esquivel who, not convinced of the goodness of the agreement, wanted to renegotiate the terms.

To have all the necessary support, he first called a popular referendum and then sought the consensus of Great Britain which confidently supported the sovereignty of Belize against the claims that Guatemala had made, in March 1994, to the then secretary general of the United Nations.

In domestic politics Esquivel tried to limit the influx of immigrants from Taiwan and Hong Kong; he fought, but without great results, drug trafficking; imposed a regime of economic austerity. And all this cost him dearly because in the legislative elections of August 1998 he was defeated by the People’s United Party whose leader, S. Musa, immediately formed a new government.