Countryaah official website,
Guatemala claimed to have acquired the inheritance right to
the area from the Spanish crown and did not recognize the
border between Guatemala and Belice. In March 1981,
Guatemala and the United Kingdom signed a 16-point agreement
to guarantee Belice's independence in the future in return
for a few concessions to the Guatemalan government, such as
free access to the Atlantic Ocean, the right to joint use of
the seabed, oil pipeline construction and a Ťanti-rebellion
agreement '. On September 21, Belice was able to declare
Tourism accounted for $ 4 million in revenue in 1983, but
despite a huge expansion in this area, tourism was unlikely
to reach $ 36 million in revenues from sugar production. The
dwindling endorsement of the People's Party and the
increasing pressure on the government of George Price -
mainly p. support for Cuba and Nicaragua- was exploited by
the right-wing opposition party, the Democratic Unity Party,
which won the elections in December 1984. The new Prime
Minister, Manuel Esquivel, introduced a liberal economic
policy, and supported the private import and export sector,
which was mainly owned by low-knowledge families for
business operations. At the same time, they took a
benevolent attitude towards the foreign investors and tried
to attract capital from the US, Jamaica and Mexico in order
to expand the tourism, energy and agriculture sectors.
Belice, as a legacy of the former government, can offer what
is probably the third most favorable tax law on foreign
investment in the third world.
Sugar cane production brings in half of the country's
foreign currency, but the fall in world market prices has
caused problems. The industry survived thanks to guaranteed
import quotas from the US and the EU, even though they only
cut 60% of production - the rest must be sold at a loss!
In March 1986, Prime Minister Esquivel devised a plan
according to which to buy citizenship in Belice. The plan
was broadly intended for traders residing in Hong Kong,
where sovereignty would be transferred to China. According
to the plan, those who bought government bonds were worth $
25,000 - the real value of the bonds was only half that! -
automatically and immediately obtain citizenship in Belice.
In the 1980's, the country received close to 40,000
refugees from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and
Nicaragua. Despite the official benevolence, some leaders
began to make the refugees responsible for the growing trade
in marijuana and other crime.
With Vinicio Cerezo's accession as Guatemalan President,
relations between the two countries improved significantly.
The government of Cerezo renewed diplomatic relations with
Britain, which had otherwise been discontinued because
Guatemala's demands on Belice. A permanent commission was
formed with representatives from Belice, Guatemala and the
United Kingdom in an effort to find a peaceful solution.