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Belize Facts
• Introduction
• People
• Government
• Communications
• Transportation
• Military
• Transnational Issues

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Introduction Belize
Background:
Belize was the site of several Mayan city states until their decline at the end of the first millennium A.D. The British and Spanish disputed the region in the 17th and 18th centuries; it formally became the colony of British Honduras in 1854. Territorial disputes between the UK and Guatemala delayed the independence of Belize until 1981. Guatemala refused to recognize the new nation until 1992. Tourism has become the mainstay of the economy. Current concerns include an unsustainable foreign debt, high unemployment, growing involvement in the South American drug trade, growing urban crime, and increasing incidences of HIV/AIDS.
People Belize
Population:
294,385 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 38.9% (male 58,459/female 56,183)
15-64 years: 57.5% (male 85,686/female 83,717)
65 years and over: 3.5% (male 4,979/female 5,361) (2007 est.)
Median age:
total: 19.9 years
male: 19.7 years
female: 20 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:
2.258% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:
28.34 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:
5.76 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.041 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.024 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.929 male(s)/female
total population: 1.027 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 24.38 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 27.43 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 21.17 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 68.25 years
male: 66.44 years
female: 70.16 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:
3.52 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
2.4% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
3,600 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
less than 200 (2003 est.)
Nationality:
noun: Belizean(s)
adjective: Belizean
Ethnic groups:
mestizo 48.7%, Creole 24.9%, Maya 10.6%, Garifuna 6.1%, other 9.7%
Religions:
Roman Catholic 49.6%, Protestant 27% (Pentecostal 7.4%, Anglican 5.3%, Seventh-Day Adventist 5.2%, Mennonite 4.1%, Methodist 3.5%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.5%), other 14%, none 9.4% (2000)
Languages:
English (official), Spanish, Mayan, Garifuna (Carib), Creole
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 94.1%
male: 94.1%
female: 94.1% (2003 est.)
Government Belize
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Belize
former: British Honduras
Government type:
parliamentary democracy
Capital:
name: Belmopan
geographic coordinates: 17 15 N, 88 46 W
time difference: UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
6 districts; Belize, Cayo, Corozal, Orange Walk, Stann Creek, Toledo
Independence:
21 September 1981 (from UK)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 21 September (1981)
Constitution:
21 September 1981
Legal system:
English law
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Sir Colville YOUNG, Sr. (since 17 November 1993)
head of government: Prime Minister Said Wilbert MUSA (since 28 August 1998); Deputy Prime Minister John BRICENO (since 1 September 1998)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the governor general; prime minister recommends the deputy prime minister
Legislative branch:
bicameral National Assembly consists of the Senate (12 members appointed by the governor general - 6 on the advice of the prime minister, 3 on the advice of the leader of the opposition, and 1 each on the advice of the Belize Council of Churches and Evangelical Association of Churches, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Belize Better Business Bureau, and the National Trade Union Congress and the Civil Society Steering Committee; members are appointed for five-year terms) and the House of Representatives (29 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms); note - number of seats will increase to 31 next election
elections: House of Representatives - last held 5 March 2003 (next to be held in March 2008)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PUP 21, UDP 8
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (the chief justice is appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister)
Political parties and leaders:
National Alliance for Belizean Rights or NABR; National Reform Party or NRP [Cornelius DUECK]; People's United Party or PUP [Said MUSA]; United Democratic Party or UDP [Dean BARROW]; Vision Inspired by the People or VIP [Paul MORGAN]; We the People Reform Movement [Hipolito BAUTISTA]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Society for the Promotion of Education and Research or SPEAR [Gustavo PERERA]; Association of Concerned Belizeans or ACB [David VASQUEZ]; National Trade Union Congress of Belize or NTUC/B [Rene GOMEZ]
International organization participation:
ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, ITUC, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Lisa M. SHOMAN
chancery: 2535 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 332-9636
FAX: [1] (202) 332-6888
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Robert J. DIETER
embassy: Floral Park Road, Belmopan City, Cayo District
mailing address: 3050 Belize Place, Washington DC 20521-3050
telephone: [501] 822-4011
FAX: [501] 822-4012
Flag description:
blue with a narrow red stripe along the top and the bottom edges; centered is a large white disk bearing the coat of arms; the coat of arms features a shield flanked by two workers in front of a mahogany tree with the related motto SUB UMBRA FLOREO (I Flourish in the Shade) on a scroll at the bottom, all encircled by a green garland
Communications Belize
Telephones - main lines in use:
33,300 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
93,100 (2005)
Telephone system:
general assessment: above-average system
domestic: trunk network depends primarily on microwave radio relay
international: country code - 501; satellite earth station - 8 (Intelsat - 2, unknown - 6) (2005)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 16, shortwave 0 (2006)
Radios:
133,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
5 (2006)
Televisions:
41,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
.bz
Internet hosts:
3,905 (2006)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
2 (2000)
Internet users:
35,000 (2005)
Transportation Belize
Airports:
43 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 2 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 38
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 11
under 914 m: 26 (2006)
Roadways:
total: 2,872 km
paved: 488 km
unpaved: 2,384 km (1999)
Waterways:
825 km (navigable only by small craft) (2005)
Merchant marine:
total: 285 ships (1000 GRT or over) 985,464 GRT/1,322,629 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 36, cargo 203, chemical tanker 7, container 4, passenger/cargo 3, petroleum tanker 13, refrigerated cargo 12, roll on/roll off 6, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: 225 (China 103, Croatia 1, Cyprus 2, Estonia 3, Germany 3, Greece 2, Hong Kong 8, Iceland 2, Indonesia 2, Italy 4, Japan 2, North Korea 2, South Korea 4, Latvia 6, Lithuania 1, Malaysia 1, Mexico 1, Norway 2, Poland 2, Russia 36, Singapore 6, Spain 3, Switzerland 1, Turkey 11, UAE 5, Ukraine 7, US 5) (2006)
Ports and terminals:
Belize City, Big Creek
Military Belize
Military branches:
Belize Defense Force (BDF): Army, Maritime Wing, Air Wing, and Volunteer Guard
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for voluntary military service; laws allow for conscription only if volunteers are insufficient; conscription has never been implemented; volunteers typically outnumber available positions by 3:1 (2001)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 61,201
females age 18-49: 60,048 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 44,238
females age 18-49: 43,633 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males age 18-49: 3,213
females age 18-49: 3,100 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$19 million (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1.8% (2006 est.)
Transnational Issues Belize
Disputes - international:
annual ministerial meetings under the OAS-initiated Agreement on the Framework for Negotiations and Confidence Building Measures continue to address Guatemalan land and maritime claims in Belize and Caribbean Sea; the Line of Adjacency created under the 2002 Differendum serves in lieu of the contiguous international boundary to control squatting in the sparsely inhabited rain forests of Belize's border region; Honduras claims Belizean-administered Sapodilla Cays in its constitution but agreed to a joint ecological park under the Differendum
Trafficking in persons:
current situation: Belize is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of labor and sexual exploitation; women and girls are trafficked mainly from Central America, and exploited in prostitution; children are trafficked to Belize for labor exploitation; Belize's largely unmonitored borders with Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico facilitate the movement of illegal migrants who are vulnerable to traffickers; girls are trafficked within the country for sexual exploitation, sometimes with the consent and complicity of their close relatives; there are unconfirmed reports that Indian and Chinese migrants are trafficked for involuntary servitude in homes and shops
tier rating: Tier 3 - Belize has failed to show evidence of significant law enforcement or victim protection efforts
Illicit drugs:
transshipment point for cocaine; small-scale illicit producer of cannabis, primarily for local consumption; money-laundering activity related to narcotics trafficking and offshore sector

This page was last updated on 17 April, 2007


 

Source: CIA World Factbook










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