Published online by Cambridge University Press: 02 January 2018
Within the international politics of the Caribbean Basin attention is only rarely paid to the position of Belize. This neglect is the more remarkable since Belize epitomizes — more precisely than any other territory of the region — the characteristic geopolitical problem of the Caribbean caught, as it were, uneasily between the United States, Latin America and Europe. Yet, despite being threatened by the Guatemalan claim to sovereignty over its territory, which delayed its independence until 1981, Belize has skillfully taken advantage of its British colonial past to carve out for itself a distinctive geopolitical space in Central America and the Caribbean. This has allowed it not only to remain relatively undisturbed by the conflicts which have riven the other states of the Central American isthmus, but also to display a commitment to democratic change strong enough to sustain the electoral defeat — in December 1984 — of a regime which had held power in the country for more than thirty years, as well as the defeat of its successor — in September 1989 — after just one term in office.
Material in this article was originally presented as a paper at the 46th International Congress of Americanists, Amsterdam (Holland), July 1988.