Belize, is the only English Speaking country in Central America, and while it has much things in common with the Caribbean island-states, formerly part of the British empire, the country is now establishing more realistic links with its geographic Spanish-speaking Central American neighbors.

In the past the majority of the population was English or Creole speaking African-Belizedescent Creoles – a legacy of its status as a former colony of the United Kingdom that introduced slavery to the settlement then known as British Honduras. Outward migrations of Creoles to North America, and the inward migration of Latinos following civil wars in the eighties in neighboring Guatemala and El Salvador, upended the demographics of its once mainly Anglo-Caribbean architecture.

Spanish speaking Latinos and Mestizos now comprise 53% of the population (2010 census) but the country continues in a relatively peaceful path of socio-political development as it finds its unique place as a bilingual and young nation state on the Central American Isthmus.


Belize’s strategic location in the Americas.

The country has three official land border crossings, the first into Mexico at Santa Elena in the northern Corozal District, the second into Guatemala at Benque Viejo del Carmen in the Cayo District, and another crossing under development into Guatemala at Jalacte in the extreme Southern Highway 96 per cent completed as at January 2015.

The only official port of entry by air is the Phillip Goldson International Airport at Ladyville 12 miles north of Belize City. This city is the commercial and crime capital of the country and its dilapidated condition does not make it attractive for tourists.

A new international airport is mostly completed at Independence Village in southern Belize, and while it has not been officially commissioned, it has been opened for special events, such as the SICA (Sistema de Integracion Centro Americana) summit in January 2015 where several heads of state landed there in their official jet airliners.

Maritime entry and exit points are located at the north with Mexico, and at the south with Guatemala and Honduras.  Passenger water taxis do daily runs into Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras. The U.S. DEA and its surrogate here, the Belize Coast Guard, maintain bases at Hunting Caye, Belize City and Ambergris Caye in an attempt to intercept the illegal transit of drugs from South America to the U.S.


Belize MayasBelizeans consist of the peoples and cultures of the Americas –bilingual Spanish-English speaking Latinos, Mestizos, who are of mixed Maya Indian and European ancestry and mainly speak Spanish, the original settlers the Maya who speak their own language, Creoles, who speak a Creole dialect and who are often of African and African-European extraction, and the Garifuna, who are the descendants of Arawak Indians and Africans and have their own language and culture.

Formerly known as British Honduras, this was England’s last colony on the American mainland. Its independence was delayed until 1981 by long-running friction with neighboring Guatemala, which claims a large portion of its territory. Guatemala recognized Belizean independence in 1991, but the two neighbors have yet to settle their border dispute.

Interesting Factoid: the Belize Flag is the only national flag in the world to depict human beings.

The two countries agreed to take their dispute to the International Court of Justice. A simultaneous public referendum on the matter was scheduled for 6 October 2013. But this was delayed after Guatemala objected to disparities in the referendum laws in the two countries.

Belize has always had strong ties with Britain and the United States, but has since the nineties forged closer links with Latin American countries such as Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Venezuela due in large measure to the reality of its physical location. Belize peopleMost of its corn, bean and beef production for example is exported to Guatemala and Mexico. Lobster and shrimp is exported to Mexico and the U.S.A., while sugar is exported to England and the U.S.A. Bananas are exported to the European Union and citrus concentrate to the Caribbean and North America. Most of its fuel is imported from Venezuela under the Petro Caribe initiative on concessionary terms, and the substantial loan advances used by the ruling United Democratic Party for various political campaign programs.

Due to economies of scale and the high cost of energy, the country has evolved its economy and the service sector has overtaken agriculture, forestry and fishing. But the discovery of oil has placed this industry as a major source of foreign exchange. It currently exports 4,000 barrels of sweet-light crude oil every day, mainly to refineries in Costa Rica and the U.S. Belize recently began to produce Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) and is now supplying 30% of its consumption thereby reducing imports from Mexico. But this oil production is on the decline and it is expected that the only producing oil field at Spanish Lookout will be depleted by 2019.

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