Belize. According to countryaah, the United Democratic Party (UDP) government won a landslide victory in the municipal elections in the country’s largest city Belize on March 4, taking 64 out of 67 seats. The main opposition party People’s United Party (PUP) took the remaining seats. The PUP has dominated Belizean politics for the past 10 years but has been accused of corruption and gross mismanagement of the country’s economy. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for abbreviation BZ which stands for the nation of Belize.
At the end of August, the country’s largest telecom company Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL), formerly owned by a British MP and multi-billionaire, was nationalized. Prime Minister Dean Barrow portrayed the measure as a nationalist offensive against the exploitation of a poor country by private individuals whose overall wealth is comparable to Belize’s entire GDP.
Already the seat of important Mayan settlements, subject to the Spanish Crown from the 16th century, the territory of the current Belize was colonized by British sailors and buccaneers starting from 1638 (expedition of the Scotsman P. Wallace). With a series of treaties, Spain granted the settlers the rights of settlement and exploitation of forest resources, but intervened repeatedly to contain its inland expansion. After the independence of the Central American Spanish colonies (third decade of the 19th century), the sovereignty of the region was claimed by Guatemala; the treaty signed by him in 1859 with Great Britain recognized the right to itto establish a colony there and defined its borders, but the differences that subsequently arose between the two states regarding the interpretation of a clause of the treaty kept the question open. In 1862, however, Great Britain constituted the colony, with the name of British Honduras, placing it until 1884 under the authority of the governor of Jamaica, thus giving it a separate administration.
The Guatemalan claims continued into the 20th century, while the colony’s independence aspirations manifested themselves starting from the 1950s led by G. Price ‘s People’s united party (PUP)who, after the granting of internal self-government (1964), assumed the direction of the executive. In 1981, Belize finally achieved independence within the Commonwealth. But the life of the young state remained conditioned by the risks of annexation by Guatemala, whose historical claims in reality appeared above all of an economic nature (access to the Atlantic coast and interest in the exploitation of any oil discovered, the exploitation of which the Belize would then have started in 2006). The new state became part of CARICOM (Caribbean community and common market). The first elections after independence (1984) awarded a large majority to the center-right United Democratic Party (UDP), whose leader, M. Esquivel, replaced Price as prime minister. His government made a liberal turn to stimulate the influx of foreign capital, but the action against drug traffickers was not very effective; the subsequent elections of 1989 put Price back in charge of the country. In the following years, the austerity economic policy of the governments that took turns leading the country (1993-98, Esquivel; 1998-2008, S. Muse of the PUP; since 2008, D. Barrow of the UDP, reconfirmed in 2012 and 2015; J. Briceño, 2020) has given rise to growing popular discontent, sometimes resulting in outright riots. In foreign policy, an improvement in relations with Guatemala, as a consequence of an agreement by which Guatemala obtained access to the Caribbean Sea through a limitation of the territorial waters of the Belize, led to the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1991 and the admission of the Belize in the OAS (Organization of American States). In 2000, after new tensions, an agreement of friendship and cooperation was signed between the two countries.