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Year in review 2021 Part VII. Regional and International News

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Posted: Friday, December 31, 2021. 6:12 pm CST.

VII. Regional and International News

After years as seeming enemies, Belize and Guatemala have begun the process of becoming better neighbors following a historic meeting in March at the Western Border. The countries have plans to implement the Partial Scope Agreement for trade and other agreements.

Belize has also sought to improve ties with Mexico, building links over cattle and other exports.

In CARICOM, it was a tumultuous year for Haiti, with the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in August followed successively by an earthquake that killed thousands and a tropical storm that killed hundreds more.

Cuba also took its share of licks related to COVID-19 but has emerged with a homegrown vaccine administered to 85 percent of its population and awaiting confirmation by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other agencies.

But the region stood together on the issue of vaccines and more, bolstered by the arrival of a Belizean face – Dr. Carla Barnett – as Secretary-General in August.

The United States sought to move past the trauma of the January 6 riot at Capitol Hill, Washington, inaugurating Joe Biden and moving to restore many of the broken links left behind by predecessor Donald Trump. In Belize Charge d’Affaires ad interim Keith Gilges gave way to Leyla Moses-Ones, with a named Ambassador-elect, Michelle Kwan, soon to be confirmed and installed in 2022.

The Government turned its attention to the issue of migration and refugees, announcing a planned amnesty to commence next April for the thousands and thousands of migrants who have lived here without status since 2010 and even beforehand, offering a pathway to permanent residence and eventually citizenship. Those who are part of the migrant caravans still crisscrossing Guatemala and Mexico were explicitly banned from even entering Belize for the purpose of seeking amnesty.

The Republic of China (Taiwan) suffered further losses in its ongoing diplomatic battle with Mainland China, losing Nicaragua’s support in December. However, it has strengthened its hand in Belize, completing several projects and launching others.

And finally, Barbados was inaugurated a republic, becoming the latest Commonwealth realm to drop that status under Mia Mottley as Prime Minister and Dame Sandra Mason as President. It is set to go to the polls in January for the first time under the new status.

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