Lake I Boulevard Squatters; Time to Move Drawing Nearer

vlcsnap-2014-04-03-21h30m07s126It made national headlines in June of 2011 – a group of Belizean citizens squatting, or occupying, land in the area then known as Chetumal Street South.

They were evicted by Police who were clearing the way for the Lake Independence Boulevard to be constructed through the area and joined to Chetumal Street in Belama on the Northside along with a bridge. It is now nearly three years later and the Boulevard is under construction.  The problem is getting much closer to their homes, and the squatters face a fight to survive.

We spoke to a few of them today.

vlcsnap-2014-04-03-21h28m24s75Mr. Alirio Zavala- Squatter

“They are telling me every day that I have to move my house from this spot to another spot.  But then, they don’t give me a piece of land where I could move, right?  I got no problem moving my house, but I need a spot because I got like eight years living in this house.  I don’t want to pay any rent because everything is expensive and I get a little bit of salary. I want a place.  if they give me a piece of land, I will move; I will not disturb them in their work, but I need a piece of land”.

At the time of the first eviction, Prime Minister Dean Barrow maintained that the security forces did what they had to do..

vlcsnap-2014-04-03-21h35m11s87Karen Henriquez- Squatter 

vlcsnap-2014-04-03-21h36m47s22“First of all, I want to say to all the Belizeans that some of them are with us and some are against us, to the squatters.  I want to say sorry to those who are against us and to the Government and we squat.  We know that this is wrong- it is against the law to do that , but mih need it. We were needing to a spot to live.  We don’t have the money top rent.  We are person that we could call the low class that we work every day, but as we work and we get our money, it is for our food and for our kids and the difficulties are a lot.  We walk in a ‘London bridge’.  Before ah mih used to walk in the  water. This baby dropped one time in the water.  I got scared, but I quickly picked him up and I took him inside”.

vlcsnap-2014-04-03-21h42m58s45Jorge Velasquez

“Well, my kids need a piece of land.  So, I am fighting for them.  If they give my kids a piece of land, that’s all I want.  Even if they share a piece of land for them to start, so they don’t have to be squatting like me”.

Of the trio we spoke to, both Zavala and Henriquez have lived in the area for eight years, and Velasquez for five.

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