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Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations: Americas · Timothy L. Gall,Jeneen M. Hobby,Gale Group Geography · History · Political science. Export Citation.
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Topics include climate, plants and animals, population and ethnic groups, religions, transportation, history, government, political parties, judicial system, economy, education, arts, media, tourism, and famous people. W67 Entries discuss a variety of topics in detail, from banking and securities to climate, from government data to demographic statistics. Also includes biographical essays on national leaders. W As of May , the Peace Corps had 52 volunteers working in Belize. Until the end of , Voice of America operated a medium-wave radio relay station in Punta Gorda that broadcast to the neighboring countries of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

Another "New Horizons" humanitarian project was conducted in southern Belize in Country Description: Belize is a developing country. Tourism facilities vary in quality, from a limited number of business class hotels in Belize City and nice resorts on the caye to a range of ecotourism lodges and very basic accommodations in the countryside.

Visitors for purposes other than tourism, or who wish to stay longer than 30 days, must obtain visas from the government of Belize. Additional information on entry and customs requirements may be obtained from the Embassy of Belize at Massachusetts Avenue, N. Embassy in Belize is over two weeks.

Safety and Security: Visitors should exercise caution and good judgment when visiting Belize. Crime can be a serious problem see Crime , particularly in Belize City and remote areas. Road accidents are common see Traffic Safety and Road Conditions. Public buses and taxis are frequently in poor condition and lack safety equipment. Boats serving the public, especially water taxis, often do not carry sufficient safety equipment, may carry an excess number of passengers and may sail in inclement weather.

Rental diving equipment may not always properly maintained or inspected, and some local dive masters fail to consider the skill levels of individual tourists when organizing dives to some of Belize's more challenging sites. The border between Belize and Guatemala is in dispute, but the dispute thus far has not affected travel between the two countries. Up to date information on security can also be obtained by calling toll free in the U. These numbers are available from a. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday except U.

Crime: The incidence of crime, including violent crimes such as armed robbery, shootings, stabbings, murder, and rape, is on the rise. The Embassy has noted an increase in recent years in reports of crimes against tourists at resorts and on the roadways. The incidence of crimes such as theft, burglary, purse snatching and pick-pocketing rises around the winter holidays and spring break.

Several victims who resisted when confronted by criminals have received serious personal injuries, including gunshot wounds. Although the majority of reported incidents are in Belize City, crime occurs in all districts including tourist spots such as San Pedro, Caye Caulker, or Placencia. Although violent sexual assault is not common, it does occur.

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Several American travelers have been the victims of sexual assaults in recent years. At least one of these rapes occurred after the victim accepted a lift from an acquaintance, while another occurred during an armed robbery at an isolated resort. To minimize the risk of being targeted, visitors should travel in groups, stay off the streets after dark, in urban and rural areas, and avoid wearing jewelry, or carrying valuable or expensive items.

As a general rule, valuables should not be left unattended, including in hotel rooms and on the beach. Care should be taken when carrying high value items such as cameras, or when wearing expensive jewelry on the street. Women's handbags should be zipped and held close to the body. Men should carry wallets in their front pants pocket. Large amounts of cash should always be handled discreetly. Armed robberies of American tourist groups have been reported near the western border with Guatemala in the past few years, several of which escalated to sexual assault.

In the past, criminals have targeted popular Mayan archeological sites in that region. Visitors should travel in groups and should stick to the main plazas and tourist sites. Although there are armed guards posted at some of the archeological sites, armed criminals have been known to prey on persons walking from one site to another. Victims who resist when confronted by these armed assailants frequently suffer personal injury.

Travel on rural roads, especially at night, increases the risk of encountering criminal activities. Widespread narcotics and alien smuggling activities can make remote areas especially dangerous. Though there is no evidence that Americans in particular are targeted, criminals look for every opportunity to attack, so all travelers should be vigilant. Rather than traveling alone, use a reputable tour organization.

It is best to stay in groups, travel in a caravan consisting of two or more vehicles, and stay on the main roads. Ensure that someone not traveling with you is aware of your itinerary. Travelers should resist the temptation to stay in budget hotels, which are generally more susceptible to crime, and stay in the main tourist destinations.

Do not explore back roads or isolated paths near tourist sites.


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And remember always to pay close attention to your surroundings. Americans visiting the Belize-Guatemala border area should consider carefully their security situation and should travel only during daylight hours. Vehicles should be in good operating condition, adequately fueled, and carry communications equipment.

A lack of resources and training impedes the ability of the police to investigate crimes effectively and to apprehend serious offenders. As a result, a number of crimes against Americans in Belize remain unresolved. Nonetheless, victims of crime should report immediately to the police all incidents of assault, robbery, theft or other crimes. Tourists may contact the Belizean tourist police unit as well as the main police office for assistance. Drug use is common in some tourist areas. American citizens should avoid buying, selling, holding, or taking illegal drugs under any circumstances.

Penalties for possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia are generally more severe than in the U. Although not common, there is anecdotal evidence of the use of so-called date rape drugs, such as Ruhypnol. In addition to reporting crimes to local police, American citizens should report all criminal incidents to the U. Embassy in Belize City. The embassy staff can assist an American with finding appropriate medical care, contacting family members or friends, and having funds transferred, as well as in determining whether any assistance is available from the victim's home state.

Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help explain the local criminal justice process and assist in finding an attorney if needed. The loss or theft abroad of a U. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U. Government Printing Office, Washington, D. Medical Facilities: Medical care for minor conditions is generally available in urban areas. Trauma or advanced medical care is limited even in Belize City; it is extremely limited or unavailable in rural areas. Serious injuries or illnesses often necessitate evacuation to another country.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. Further, U. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States.

However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including emergency services such as medical evacuations. When making a decision regarding health insurance , Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the U.

Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or if you will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death. Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad , available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page.

In addition, Americans can and have been imprisoned in Belize for accidents, even where alcohol is not involved. The information below concerning Belize is provided for general reference only, and may not be entirely accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Valid U. Driving is on the right-hand side of the road. Buses and private vehicles are the main mode of transportation in Belize; no trains operate in the country. Roadside assistance can be difficult to summon, as there are very few public telephones along the road and emergency telephone numbers do not always function properly. The Belizean Department of Transportation is responsible for road safety. Roads in Belize vary from two-lane paved roads to dirt tracks.

The few paved roads are high-crowned roads, which can contribute to cars overturning, and have few markings or reflectors. Even in urban areas, few streets have lane markings, leading many motorists to create as many lanes as possible in any given stretch of street or road. Bridges on the major highways are often only single lanes. The Manatee Road, leading from the Western Highway to Dangriga, is unpaved and easily flooded after storms.

The Southern Highway from Dangriga to Punta Gorda is mostly completed and in good condition, except for a short portion that is under construction. Service stations are plentiful along the major roads, although there are some significant gaps in the rural areas. Speed limits are 55 miles per hour on most highways and 25 miles per hour on most other roads, but they are seldom obeyed or even posted. Many vehicles on the road do not have functioning safety equipment such as turn signals, flashers, or brake lights.

Seatbelts for drivers and front-seat passengers are mandatory, but child car seats are not required. Driving while intoxicated is punishable by a fine; if an alcohol-related accident results in a fatality, the driver may face manslaughter charges. Unusual local traffic customs include: pulling to the right before making a left turn; passing on the right of someone who is signaling a right-hand turn; stopping in the middle of the road to talk to someone while blocking traffic; carrying passengers, including small children, in the open beds of trucks; and tailgating at high speeds.

Bicycles are numerous and constitute a traffic hazard at all times; bicyclists often ride contrary to traffic and do not obey even basic traffic laws such as red lights or stop signs. It is common to see bicyclists carrying heavy loads or passengers, including balancing small children on their laps or across the handlebars. The driver of a vehicle that strikes a bicyclist or pedestrian is almost always considered to be at fault, regardless of circumstances.

Americans who have struck cyclists in Belize have faced significant financial penalty or even prison time. Driving at night is not recommended, due to poor signage and road markings, a tendency not to dim the lights when approaching other vehicles, and drunk driving. Pedestrians, motorcyclists and bicyclists without lights, reflectors, or reflective clothing also constitute a very serious after-dark hazard. Local wildlife and cattle also are road hazards in rural areas. For safety reasons, travelers should not stop to offer assistance to others whose vehicles apparently have broken down.

For additional information about road travel in Belize, please see the U. For specific information concerning drivers' permits, vehicle requirements, and insurance in Belize, please e-mail the U. Aviation Safety Oversight: The U. While consultations to correct the deficiencies are ongoing, no service to the U. Customs Regulations: Belize customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Belize of firearms. In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available.

Transactions involving such products are illegal and bringing them back to the U. Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Belizean laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Belize are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines. The law defines a commercial sex act as any sex act, on account of which anything of value is given to or received by a person under the age of Under the Protection of Children from Sexual Predators Act of , it is a crime to use the mail or any facility of interstate or foreign commerce, including the Internet , to transmit information about a minor under the age of 16 for criminal sexual purposes that include, among other things, the production of child pornography.

This same law makes it a crime to use any facility of interstate or foreign commerce, including the Internet, to transport obscene materials to minors under the age of Special Circumstances: It is not possible to access most U. However, travelers can usually obtain cash advances from local banks, Monday through Friday, using major international credit cards. Disaster Preparedness: Belize is a hurricane-prone country. The hurricane season is primarily June through November each year. The coastal regions and islands are particularly vulnerable to hurricanes and tropical storms.

The islands, which have no high ground, have been cut off from communications and assistance during previous hurricanes. Extensive flooding as a result of storm activity is possible in many parts of Belize, including in those areas not directly hit by a particular storm. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U. As in all countries, unforeseen disasters are always possible in Belize. Travelers should be aware, however, that many emergency services common in most of the U. This number is available from a. Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information and assistance during these hours by calling Americans living in or visiting Belize are encouraged to register with the nearest U.

Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.

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By registering, you'll make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact you in case of emergency. The Embassy is open from a. For more information, please read the International Adoption section of this book and review current reports online at www.

Disclaimer: The information in this circular relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is provided for general information only. Questions involving interpretation of specific foreign laws should be addressed to foreign counsel. NOTE: Belizean law prohibits the issuance of an adoption order unless the applicant and infant reside in belize and the infant is a belizean citizen. Residence has been defined in the past as either physically residing in belize for a minimum of six months or possession of belizean citizenship.

General: U.

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Immigration law, and any state pre-adoption requirements including home studies and finger print checks. Prospective adoptive parent s should exercise due diligence to ensure that they are dealing with reputable agencies and lawyers. Adopting parents should thoroughly investigate the background of the prospective adoptive child to ensure that they are not unknowing accessories to any wrongdoing.

The Embassy is on constant guard against child-trafficking and urges adopting parent s to do likewise. The American Embassy and the Department of State stand ready to assist adoptive parents, within the limits of our authority. Reports to the American Embassy or the Department of State about successes or problems with foreign adoptions are very useful and any assistance adoptive parents can provide in this regard is much appreciated.

Availability of Children for Adoption: Recent U. Belizean Adoption Procedures: Orphans in Belize may only be adopted through the judicial process. There are no private adoptions or adoptions through extrajudicial processes. Judicial adoptions do not require a court decree declaring that the infant has been abandoned. Since adoptions occur before a Supreme Court Judge, only local attorneys may function for the prospective parent s.

Those persons wishing information on the forms and procedures to follow for adoptions should contact a Belizean attorney. Age and Civil Status Requirements: An adoption order cannot be made unless the applicant or, in the case of joint application, one of the applicants is at least twenty-five years old and is at least twenty-one years older than the infant, unless the court finds extenuating circumstances in favor of the adoption. Single men cannot adopt infant females unless the court finds that special circumstances warrant an exceptional adoption order.

Civil status is not relevant to adoption orders except in the case of males adopting females. Adoption Agencies and Attorneys: There are no adoption agencies in Belize. Before sending a first payment to a lawyer or representative, adopting parents should make sure that costs are inclusive and not subject to change.

Attorneys in Belize speak English. A list of attorneys is available from the American Embassy or the Department of State. Embassy Interview with Biological Mother: The Embassy requires that the biological mother be interviewed on the day that she signs the irrevocable release of parental rights over the child.

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The future petitioner or legal representative must contact the Consular Section at least one day in advance to schedule this interview. Interviews are scheduled from p. The biological mother must present her birth certificate and social security card or passport. When the interviewing consular officer determines that there are no obstacles to the adoption, the biological mother will sign a certification before the officer which must be presented to the courts during adoption proceedings. The purpose of this procedure is to ensure that the child qualifies for a visa under U.

Before You Travel to Belize to Receive the Child: Before you make plane reservations for yourselves or for an escort and the child, make absolutely certain with your lawyer or agency that the Belizean passport has been issued and the BCIS approval cable has reached the U. It can take up to three weeks to receive the Belizean passport. Scheduling Appointment With U. Embassy in Belize City at least one day in advance to check that the documents are in order and to set an appointment for the immigrant visa interview.

The Embassy cannot guarantee issuance of the visa in advance of the interview. Embassy: Note: Since each case is different, it is possible that the Embassy will request additional documents after a preliminary review of the application of the prospective adoptive parent s. Medical Examination Fee: The adopted child must have a medical examination performed by one of the U. Embassy or Consulate's panel physicians before the immigrant visa can be issued. The cost of this medical examination is approximately U.

The American Embassy does not accept personal checks or credit cards. The Embassy will be able to provide information about any outstanding travel advisories and to provide other information about the Bahamas including lists of physicians, attorneys, interpreters and translators. Compiled from the July Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume.

Government branches: Executive—British monarch head of state , represented by a governor general; prime minister head of government, 5-year term. Economy: Primary sectors Secondary sectors Tertiary sectors Exchange rate: Since Belizean banks have bought U. The various Mayan groups still speak their indigenous languages, and an English Creole dialect similar to the Creole dialects of the English-speaking Caribbean Islands is spoken by most. Mennonite settlers number about 8, However, the PUP lost one seat in Parliament during a by-election held after the death of a minister in October , but still maintains a comfortable majority.

Belize's outstanding public debt at the end of was U. However, on January 31, the Government of Belize officially announced that the holders of Belize's public external commercial indebtedness have agreed to exchange their existing claims against the country for new bonds to be issued by Belize maturing in Exports have recently been augmented by expanded production of citrus, bananas, seafood, and apparel. Some U. As part of its financial austerity measures started in late , the government froze expenditures on several capital projects.

Although electricity, telephone, and water utilities are all relatively good, Belize has the most expensive electricity in the region. Although the economy recorded a growth rate of 4. Since then, despite efforts by the OAS to jumpstart the process, movement has been limited to confidence-building measures between the parties.

Both countries now seem receptive to referring the dispute to the International Court of Justice for a binding decision. Of this amount, nearly half a million dollars was provided by the U. As of April , the Peace Corps had 58 volunteers working in Belize. Private North American investors continue to play a key role in Belize's economy, particularly in the tourism sector.

The mailing address is P. Tourism facilities vary in quality, from a limited number of business class hotels in Belize City and resorts on the cayes to a range of ecotourism lodges and very basic accommodations in the country-side. Crime is a growing concern. Entry Requirements: All U. All tourists and non-Belizean nationalities are required to pay an exit fee of U. Crime can be a serious problem, particularly in Belize City and remote areas.

Road accidents are common. Medical care is limited. Rental diving equipment may not always be properly maintained or inspected, and some local dive masters fail to consider the skill levels of individual tourists when organizing dives to some of Belize's more challenging sites. Deaths and serious mishaps have occurred as a result of negligent diving tour operators and the lack of strict enforcement of tour regulations.

The Embassy strongly recommends that anyone interested in scuba diving and snorkeling while in Belize check the references, licenses and equipment of tour operators before agreeing to or paying for a tour. Safety precautions and emergency response capabilities may not be up to U. There have not been any terrorist activities in Belize. For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site, where the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, including the Worldwide Caution Travel Alert, can be found.

Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling toll free in the U. Crime: The incidence of crime, including violent crimes such as armed robbery, shooting, stabbing, murder, and rape, is on the rise. The Embassy has noted an increase in recent years in reports of crimes against tourists at resorts and on the roadways and river ways. Although the majority of reported incidents are in Belize City, crime occurs in all districts including tourist spots such as San Pedro, Caye Caulker, and Placencia.

One of these occurred after the victim accepted a lift from an acquaintance, while another occurred during an armed robbery at an isolated resort. One of these assaults has resulted in the death of the victim. The Embassy recommends that visitors travel in groups and only in day-light hours, stay off the streets after dark, in urban and rural areas, and avoid wearing jewelry, or carrying valuable or expensive items. If traveling by taxi, use only vehicles with green license plates, do not get in a taxi that is occupied by more than the driver, and do not let the driver pick up additional fares.

Armed robberies of American tourist groups occurred during the summer of in the Mountain Pine Ridge and Caracol regions of the western district of Belize. Embassy in Belmopan, telephone Transactions involving such products may be illegal under local law. Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U. Medical Facilities and Health Information: Medical care for minor conditions is generally available in urban areas. Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Driving in Belize requires one's full attention, and drivers must take extraordinary efforts to drive defensively to avoid dangerous situations. The information below concerning Belize is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance. The few paved roads are high-crowned roads, which can contribute to cars over-turning, and have few markings or reflectors. The Manatee Road, leading from the Western Highway to Dangriga, is unpaved, easily flooded after storms and without services.

Moreover, Americans can and have been imprisoned in Belize for accidents, even where alcohol is not involved. Few bicycles have lights at night. Pedestrians, motorcy-clists and bicyclists without lights, reflectors, or reflective clothing also constitute a very serious after-dark hazard. Special Circumstances: Belize is vulnerable to tropical storms, especially from June 1 until November 30 of each year. It is not possible to access most U. Dual Nationality: A person who is a citizen of both the U. Embassy in Belize is approximately 10 working days.

Belize customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Belize of firearms. Persons violating Belize's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Belize are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.

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Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States. Registration and Embassy Locations: Americans living or traveling in Belize are encouraged to register with the nearest U. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration website, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Belize.

By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. Embassy is located in the capital city of Belmopan, approximately 50 miles west of Belize City. Embassy is on Floral Park Road, Belmopan and the telephone number is Disclaimer: The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is based on public sources and current understanding. Questions involving foreign and U. Eligibility Requirements for Adoptive Parents: The government of Belize requires that at least one of the prospective adoptive parents must be a minimum of 25 years old and no fewer than 12 years older than the child.

Single men cannot adopt female children. These restrictions can be waived if the court finds that special circumstances are warranted. According to Section of the Belize Families and Children's Act, a person who is not a citizen of Belize may adopt a Belizean child if he or she:. Belizean law prohibits the issuance of a final adoption order unless the non-Belizean prospective adoptive parent resides in Belize with the Belizean child for 12 months. A social worker will visit periodically to assess the parent-child relationship. Time Frame: The processing time for adoptions can vary, depending on the circumstances of the case.

For independent adoptions children not in the custody of the Department of Human Services the processing time is shorter. Because the adoption is child-specific—that is, the prospective adoptive parents have already selected a child—matching and placement are not necessary. These adoption proceedings take from 3 months to one year. Adoption Agencies and Attorneys: There are no accredited adoption agencies in Belize. Generally, U. The prospective adoptive parents must submit a home study report from a social services agency in their state of residency and the U.

Prospective adoptive parents should confirm all fees and conditions before sending payments to an attorney or representative. English is the official language of Belize, so all attorneys in Belize speak English. International adoptions occur before a Supreme Court judge and require the services of a local attorney authorized to present cases before the Supreme Court. Adoptive parents who wish to obtain information about forms and detailed adoption requirements should contact a Belizean attorney.

A list of attorneys can be found at the U. The cost can vary based on the attorney selected, the type of adoption local vs. Embassy in Belize or to the U. Department of State. The Supreme Court will not adjudicate adoption cases involving non-Belizean citizen children and will instead refer the case to the child's country of citizenship. Adoption of Belizean citizen children must occur within the Belizean court system. There are no private adoptions or adoptions through extra-judicial processes.

If the prospective adoptive parents reside outside of Belize and are not citizens of Belize, the adoption must be handled through the Supreme Court of Belize. Full Adoptions: The Supreme Court will not issue a final adoption decree in a full adoption until the child has spent at least 12 months with the prospective adoptive parents and a social worker has submitted a written assessment of the child-parent relationship.

Full adoptions are rare in Belize and, as of the time of this writing, can only be granted to Belizean citizens or residents of Belize. Interim Adoptions: The Supreme Court may postpone the granting of a final adoption decree and issue an interim order instead. Upon submission of the final quarterly report, the attorney makes an application for the provisional order to be made final in the Supreme Court.

The application will be granted based on the recommendation of the U. If the final adoption decree is granted, the Belize Registrar General for Vital Statistics will then place the child's name in the Adoption of Children Register. American adoptive parents may apply for an Immediate Relative IR -4 visa for the child. The adoptive parents must obtain a Belize passport for the child which must be issued in the child's birth name. NW Washington, DC Additional Information: Specific questions about adoption in Belize may be addressed to the U.

Embassy in Belize. General questions regarding international adoption may be addressed to the Office of Children's Issues, U. For information on international adoption of children and inter-nnational parental child abduction, call Overseas Citizens Services at Compiled from the October Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. Work force: April , , Services— Sectors: Primary sectors Prime Minister Said Musa has embarked on an adjustment program, which calls for short- and medium-term fiscal and monetary policy changes.

Belize traditionally maintains a deep interest in the environment and sustainable. Although the economy recorded a growth rate of 3. As of September , the Peace Corps had 63 volunteers working in Belize. Tourism facilities vary in quality, from a limited number of business class hotels in Belize City and resorts on the cayes to a range of ecotourism lodges and very basic accommodations in the countryside.

See our Foreign Entry Requirements brochure for more information on Belize. The Embassy recommends that visitors travel in groups and only in daylight hours, stay off the streets after dark, in urban and rural areas, and avoid wearing jewelry, or carrying valuable or expensive items. Patterns of Immigration: Please review current reports online at www. The PAPs must submit a home study report from a social services agency in their state of residency and the U.

Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at travel. Capital—Belmopan pop. Subtropical dry and wet seasons. Executive—British monarch head of state , represented by a governor general; prime minister head of government, 5-year term. Manufacturing, electricity and water supply , and construction. Since Belizean banks have bought U. The official name of the territory was changed from British Honduras to Belize in June , and full independence was granted on September 21, The 29 members of the House are popularly elected to a maximum 5year term.

However, the PUP lost one seat in Parliament during a byelection held after the death of a minister in October , but still maintains a comfortable majority. Prime Minister Said Musa has embarked on an adjustment program, which calls for short and medium-term fiscal and monetary policy changes. In , the United States provided Eventually, on November 8, , the two parties agreed to respect an "adjacency zone" extending one kilometer east and west from the border. Belize seems receptive to referring the dispute to the International Court of Justice for a binding decision, but Guatemala is reluctant to take this course.

As of August , the Peace Corps had 73 volunteers working in Belize. Belize is a developing country. All U. Visitors should exercise caution and good judgment when visiting Belize. Safety precautions and emergency response capabilities are generally not up to U. The incidence of crime, including violent crimes such as armed robbery, shootings, stabbings, murder, and rape, is on the rise. The number of armed robberies on river ways in the western districts increased significantly in early Although not common, there is evidence of the use of so-called date rape drugs, such as Ruhypnol.

A Safe Trip Abroad for ways to promote a troublefree journey. Medical care for minor conditions is generally available in urban areas. The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.


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Tourists are encouraged to obtain medical insurance that would pay for medical treatment and medical evacuation before traveling to Belize. While in a foreign country, U. Driving is on the righthand side of the road. Driving while intoxicated is punishable by a fine; if an alcoholrelated accident results in a fatality, the driver may face manslaughter charges.

Unusual local traffic customs include: pulling to the right before making a left turn; passing on the right of someone who is signaling a righthand turn; stopping in the middle of the road to talk to someone while blocking traffic; carrying passengers, including small children, in the open beds of trucks; and tailgating at high speeds.

Visit the website of Belize's Tourist Board and national authority responsible for road safety at www. Belize is vulnerable to tropical storms, especially from June 1 until November 30 of each year. General information on weather conditions may be obtained at: http. Other Helpful Guides Country Information Databases and web sites with political, business, economic, educational, historical, etc. Buenos Aires. Conaway Call Number: Electronic Book whole book can be viewed online - click above. Your Passport to International Business Etiquette The most authoritative and comprehensive text of its kind,Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands, 2nd Editionis your must-have guide to proper international business protocol.

With countries such as China and India taking on a more significant role in the global business landscape, you can't afford not to know the practices, customs, and philosophies of other countries. Now fully revised, updated, and expanded with over sixty country profiles,Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands, 2nd Editionprovides invaluable information on how to handle common business interactions with grace, respect, and an appreciation for different cultures. Tangled Destinies by Don M. Coerver; Linda B.

Hall ISBN: An imbalance of power and a sense of unresolved tension have long plagued relations between the United States and Latin America. This book offers an important new synthesis of that complex relationship by studying how actions and policies of the United States have been interpreted and played out in Latin America.