A national referendum was held in Guatemala on Sunday, April 15, regarding a border dispute with neighboring Belize. While voter turnout was low, the vast majority of the 2 million voters who did take part in the referendum - more than 96 percent - approved a proposal by the government to turn to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to claim Guatemalan sovereignty over more than 11,000 km² (4250 mi²) of Belizean land.
However, according to a 2008 bilateral agreement, the case cannot be presented to the ICJ without consent from Belize. The Belizean ambassador to Guatemala has indicated that the government will likely hold its own referendum on the issue at the end of the year.
The border dispute dates back to the colonial period, when Guatemala was government by the Spanish and Belize by the British.
Individuals in Guatemala and Belize are advised to keep abreast of the situation.
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