Belize: Stability Amidst Struggle
Executive Summary:Belize is likely to be stable in 24 months primarily for political andgeographic reasons. It is unlikely that any party will attempt to take power byundemocratic means in the next two years due to Belize’s strong democratictradition. Current relations with the US are likely to remain stable over the next 24months. The US and Belize are almost certain to work together to combat drugtrafficking during the next two years. Another factor contributing to stability isthe terrain of Belize. It is highly likely the jungle, swamps, mountains, and barrierreef islands will prevent a foreign power from invading. Violent crime has beenincreasing in Belize over the past 10 years and it is highly likely to be adestabilizing factor, however, it is unlikely to affect the overall stability of thecountry. Belize’s recently ratified ninth constitutional amendment, which limitscourt challenges to certain actions taken by parliament, is unlikely to be a sourceof instability in the next 24 months.Discussion:The strong democratic traditions in Belize and membership in the BritishCommonwealth are likely to ensure stability over the next 24 months.
The BelizeConstitution guarantees universal suffrage,presumption of innocence in a criminal trial, freedomof religion, and freedom of speech. Since Belizegained independence from the UK in 1981 whenevera transition of power has occurred between the twomajor parties, it has always occurred peacefully
.According to Jane’s Sentinel Security assessmentthe next round of elections scheduled for 2013 is notexpected to provoke major social or politicalcontroversies.
If Belizeans become dissatisfiedwith their government it is highly likely they willchange leadership through the ballot box.The aid provided by the US to Belize islikely to be a stabilizing factor since the US has astrong interest in eliminating Belize as a drugtransshipment point.
Since 2008 the US hasprovided Belize about 15 million USD in securityassistance, including boats and other vehicles,communications gear and training programs
. TheUS Military Liaison Office (MLO) working with theBelize Defense Force (BDF) provided the necessaryfunding to establish the Belize Coast Guard in 2005
. The US Government alsoprovided a 300,000 USD donation to the Belize Coast Guard in 2011 to help combatdrug traffickers operating off the Belize coast
:Belize Coast Guard Vesselpurchased with US aid