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1900s continued
  • (1997) United Democratic Party (UPD) in control, Prime Minister Esquivel stated party would not de-centralize, wanted to retain strong party control 
  • (1998) UPD lost five-year national elections by landslide to People's United Party (PUP); Said Musa became Prime Minister 
  • (1999) Belize troops killed two Guatemalan civilians in disputed border area 
2000s
  • (2000) Three Maria Estela skiff crew members, enroute from Guatemala to Belize, killed five people, threw survivors overboard into Gulf of Honduras, three of 10 passengers survived; Guatemala officials claimed British awarded 4,739 square miles of Guatemalan territory to Belize; Hurricane Keith caused widespread damage, estimated at $280 million, killed 19 
  • (2001) US Navy and Coast Guard captured Belize-flagged fishing boat with ten men and 8.8 tons of cocaine 250 miles west of Acapulco; Hurricane Iris caused $66.2 million in damages, 22 deaths 

    US Coast Guard found cocaine aboard 152-foot Belize-flagged fishing vessel, Svesda Maru, 1,500 miles south of San Diego; Belize agreed to conserve 23,000 acres for cancellation of US debt including $1.4 million in debt relief, $10 million savings in interest payments over 26 years 
  • (2002) Belize, Guatemala announced proposed border settlement between the two countries 
  • (2003) Said Musa elected Prime Minister for second term 
  • (2005) Two-day strike by public and private sector workers over budget measures; rioting broke out in capital during anti-government protests; seven Central American countries agreed to rapid-response to combat drug trafficking, terrorism, regional threats; sabotage at Belize Telecommunications left entire country without phone, internet or fax services through entire weekend 
  • (2006) Central American presidents agreed to plan to ease border controls, installed common customs system; residents allowed to cross borders without passports or visas; Belize began commercial exploitation of oil reserves 
  • (2007) Organization of American States recommended border dispute between Belize and Guatemala be referred to International Court of Justice 
  • (2008) UDP won landslide victory in elections, Dean Barrow became country's first black Prime Minister 
  • (2009) Earthquake killed six, injured 40, collapsed two dozen houses 
  • (2010) Belize government announced it would cease sending appeals cases to British Privy Council, Trinidad Carribean Court of Justice to hear Belize court appeals

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