Belize’s Independence and Decolonization in Latin America: by Assad Shoman (auth.)

By Assad Shoman (auth.)

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By Assad Shoman (auth.)

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Extra info for Belize’s Independence and Decolonization in Latin America: Guatemala, Britain, and the UN

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81 The assumption by the NAM of the right to recognize the legitimate representatives of a country before independence later allowed Belize to be welcomed in the fold of the NAM while it was still a colony, and facilitated its bid for independence by internationalization. 82 The movement privileged multilateralism and consistently sought to strengthen the role of the UN in world politics. The NAM came of age at the Fourth Summit in Algeria in 1973: 75 countries attended, representing two-thirds of UN membership.

They succeeded because they were able to interject regional and international organizations as intermediaries between the main protagonists. They also took advantage of the evolving norms of international behavior. The norms of self-determination, which by the 1970s had acquired a highly developed meaning in relation to colonial territories (with a strong bias toward independence), and of territorial integrity (which in the hands of NAM countries acquired a meaning more favorable to Belize than to Guatemala) played a crucial role.

The Belizeans argued that since the Anglo-Guatemalan dispute was Britain’s responsibility, it must resolve it without penalizing Belize in any way, and if it could not do so, it had an obligation to resolve the issue of Belize’s independence by providing it with a defense guarantee against any Guatemalan threat to its sovereignty or territorial integrity. When this was categorically and consistently denied by the UK, and when Belize’s participation in negotiations proved that its true independence could not be thereby achieved, it opted for internationalization.

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