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Economic Development of Central America Econ. 4200 - Spring 2004 – Dr. Taylor - page 68 / 153

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Guatemala is a major transit country for cocaine and heroin; minor producer of illicit opium poppy and cannabis for mostly domestic consumption; proximity to Mexico makes Guatemala a major staging area for drugs (cocaine and heroin shipments); money laundering is a serious problem; corruption is endemic.

Guatemalan squatters continue to settle in Belize border region creating tension with Belize; OAS brokered an agreement in 2002 creating small adjustment to the land boundary between the two counties, but this agreement was not brought to popular referendum leaving Guatemalan claim to southern half of Belize intact.

“Secretary of State Colin L. Powell met Monday afternoon, February 11, 2002, with Guatemalan President Alfonso Portillo. During the meeting, Secretary Powell expressed appreciation for the counter-terrorism measures undertaken by the Guatemalan Government, including its public statements, its ratification of key international conventions and its passage of anti-money laundering legislation. Secretary Powell also congratulated President Portillo for the progress made in reducing tensions on the Belize border and for his determination to resolve the issue.”

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