Guatemalan gold panner dies in Chiquibul Print E-mail
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Thursday, 18 May 2017 00:00

The Guatemalan Press reported rather prematurely that one of their soldiers was killed in the Adjacency Zone. That was cause for concern because if it was true, the tension between both countries would spike once again. That was a completely false report. A Guatemalan civilian was found dead in Belizean territory, but forensic evidence is pointing to an accident, not hostile fire with the Belize Defense Force Soldiers.

The hysteria was created when the Guatemalan radio, Radio Sonora, made a twitter post that a Guatemalan soldier was found dead in the adjacency zone from a gunshot wound to the head. It was picked up by other Guatemalan media houses, but it turns out they got the facts all wrong.

Belize authorities have confirmed that 18 year-old Marvin Cristobal Chac Pop’s body was removed from the Chiquibul this afternoon, and it is now being held in a morgue in Belize City. 2 Belizean forensic doctors were taken to the Ceibo Chico area of the Chiquibul, and from their examination, they have concluded that Pop fell down a cliff and died in an area almost 5 miles inside Belizean territory. He hit his head when he fell on stones in a creek at the bottom, and he died from the injuries he suffered.

One Guatemalan news station suggested that this young man died at the hands of the BDF. Their startling spin was that Marvin Chac Pop was inside Belizean territory on Sunday May 14, and they were trying to illegally pan for gold. The report acknowledges that the 18 year-old fell and lost consciousness, but his friends left him where he fell because the BDF were approaching.

Carlos Raul Morales, the Guatemalan Foreign Minister, had to grant an interview to the Guatemalan media to set the record straight.  He told the press, “The report that a Guatemalan soldier was killed is completely false.”

So, that’s the bottom-line. It was a civilian who died in Belizean territory, not a soldier, and it was an accident, not due to gunshot injuries, and was certainly nothing to do with the Belizean Military. This 18 year-old fell off a cliff while being in Belize illegally, and while conducting illegal activities in the Chiquibul.