Foreign policy and defense
Belize has historically identified itself
with the countries of the Caribbean, but since the
1990s, the country has also approached Central America.
Belize is a member of the Central American economic
integration cooperation Sica.
The protracted border conflict with Guatemala in 2008
led the OAS regional organization to recommend the
countries to allow the International Court of Justice (ICJ)
to address the conflict. Instead, the parties chose to
propose referenda in both countries on whether the
conflict should be taken to the ICJ. In 2011, a date was
set for these referendums, but they were postponed in
Overview of business holidays and various national observances in Belize for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025.
In April 2016, tensions rose in the disputed border
area on the Sarstoon River between Belize and Guatemala.
Guatemalan accused Belizean soldiers of shooting a
13-year-old Guatemalan boy inside Guatemalan territory.
Belize responded to the criticism that the soldiers
acted in self-defense after being attacked by
Guatemalans who, in Belizean territory, conducted
"illegal activities". Guatemala sent 3,000 soldiers to
the border area. In May, Guatemala accused the Belize
army of being assaulted in connection with the arrest of
three Guatemalans suspected of illegal mining on
Belizean territory. A man is injured in connection with
A couple of years later, in April 2018, Guatemala
finally held the referendum on the ICJ and 96 percent of
the voters agreed to let the court resolve the issue.
When Belize cast its vote, in May 2019, 55 percent voted
for the ICJ proposal.
Belize has been a member of the Caribbean cooperation
organization Caricom's passport union since 2009 and
uses the region's joint passport.
After not being on the US list of drug smuggling
transit countries for twelve years, Belize was
re-included in the 2011 list.
The United States also has Belize on a list of tax
havens. The country complied with promises of measures
from being placed on the EU's first official tax haven
list in 2017, but when the list was later expanded,
Belize joined it. However, towards the end of 2019, the
EU found that Belize had taken adequate steps to move
from the "black" to the "gray" list of countries that
have insufficient tax rules but are actively seeking to
The army consists of just over 1,000 men. The United
Kingdom closed its war school in Belize in 2010.
FACTS - DEFENSE
1,500 men (2017)
150 men (2015)
Military expenditure's share of GDP
1.3 percent (2017)
Military spending's share of the state budget
3.9 percent (2017)