Volume 24 | November 2016

Consulate of Belize

in Flor ida



November 19th, 2016


Hon. Consul General's 
Monthly Message

Janine Sylvestre Vega
Hon. Consul General of Belize  in Florida
Trade Representative of Belize in Florida
Welcome to our monthly newsletter, where we bring you human interest stories, current events and information on Belize!

The Consulate of Belize in Florida is proud to announce that in addition to processing Belizean Passports and Emergency Travel Documents, it is now issuing Identification Cards, facilitating many Belizeans living in Florida with the opportunity to hold an official ID from Belize. Acceptance of these cards at U.S. offices and other institutions, however, depends on their discretion. 

Enjoy reading about our Belizean Star of the Month!  If you are aware of a Belizean residing in the United States who is making a positive impact on the lives of others while contributing to their native country, please submit their story to us so that we may feature them in our newsletter. 

Please remember to share with us your contact information so that you can be abreast of all the updates and news on Belize. Visit our website at www.belizeconsulflorida and register!

See N Taste Belize News 2017!

Thanks to the overwhelming support we received from you at See N Taste Belize 2015 held in Miami, Florida, we quickly outgrew the venue at Florida International University! We have finally identified our new and exciting See N Taste Belize venue where See N Taste Belize will come back bigger and better in 2017!   Mark your calendars for Saturday, October 7th, 2017 and stay tuned for more details in the coming months!

    San Antonio Maya Women's Group: Making their mark on the world

Who we are as a people is often classified in neat little boxes that tick off ethnicity/race, gender, religion, etc. Those forms know nothing about what we feel when we wake, when we find a particularly moving sight, or how a scent can invoke a deeply embedded memory. Most of those memories are carved long before we are born, over the years of our ancestors' life, our journey begins. Through the San Antonio Maya Women's Group, inheriting the talent and artistry of their forgone Maya forefathers has given new life to ceramics and an industry that revives a pride of culture and history. And the world loves it!

 Tucked in a lush green valley en route to the rich rainforest of Belize lies one of the most picturesque villages of Belize: San Antonio. I may be a bit biased considering it is my home village, and to my Maya heart, the prettiest ever.
Populated by primarily Yucatec Mayas, San Antonio has a history of churning out bright, talented Belizeans. From its start with the Garcia Sisters and their slate carvings, to the historic and revered Doctor Don Elijio Panti - revolutionary herbal healer, to our newest generation of ceramics artisans, San Antonio has shown the world over just how much can be done with a whole heap of passion and a little instruction and guidance.


On October 19th and 20th Timotea Mesh née Canto, Josepha Canto, Laura Mesh, Claribel Tzib and Rafael Canto headlined a fantastic event at SUNY Cortland in Cortland, New York, United States.

Thanks to the efforts of Professor Jeremiah Donovan, a professor of ceramics in the Art and Art History Department, through a National Endowment of the Arts grant in Spring 2016, the group was able to witness their work on display at an international scale. 35 contemporary pottery pieces are on display at Dowd Gallery, along with 20 ancient Maya objects on loan from the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University, and several other related tools and materials.

"It was one of the most attended openings we have ever had on our campus. The collaboration with Cornell University made it a very unique and fascinating exhibition. Included in the exhibition are earth materials (oxides and clay pigments) used in Maya Polychrome Painted Ceramics, the San Antonio pottery alongside ancient Maya Pottery, and archaeological artifact," said Donovan. Altogether there were nearly 50 pieces of pottery on display, as well as photographs and video of the Belize process wherein Donovan trains the San Antonio Group.

You see, the group formed as a means to create and sell pottery and other items produced in the manner of the Maya civilization. However, even though modern Mayas keep many traditions alive, making Maya ceramics as authentically as possible wasn't happening. Timotea, president of the group recalls their frustration. "We had been working so hard to teach ourselves how to make pottery and work with paints." Their efforts often meant up to three weeks of grueling work to produce a single piece, not to mention it was quite the trial-and-error process. "We were about to quit, until Jeremiah reached our place as a visitor."
Donovan has been traveling with students under SUNY Cortland's "Belize: Art, History, and Culture" program since 2013, observing ancient pottery excavation at Cahal Pech archaeological site. Led by Belizean archaeologist Jaime Awe, the digs shed light on the techniques and materials used by ancient pottery makers in the region. Donovan then developed modern processes that reinterpret ancient Maya multi-colored pottery production. Using his formula, the women's group was able to produce several items worthy of a gallery display.

"We would begin by digging clay in the rainforest, like the Maya did. Then [we] searched for and developed natural pigments for painting and decorating the pottery," said Donovan. Through hands-on instruction, the group learned the ancient techniques of their ancestors and became inspired to re-invent their work. "Our ancestors used to paint their pots with stories on them," said Rafael Canto, the lone male in the group. He drew from that knowledge and crafted a contemporary piece based on a 3,000 year old pot he held once. The story of the pot shows how pottery was crafted: mixing clay with their feet, firing the vessels and passing the tradition to future generations. Canto gifted Donovan the piece.

 The work of the group, along with historic examples of ancient Maya pottery, will be on display at SUNY Cortland's Dowd Gallery as part of "Future of the Past: Revitalizing Ancient Maya Ceramic Traditions in a Modern Maya Community." The exhibit will run through December 1, 2016.


Written by Mary Gonzalez | Mybeautifulbelize.com  


  The Garifuna History  

Though commonly referred to as "Garifuna", the people are properly called "Garinagu" and the culture and language are "Garifuna". The Garinagu are recent arrivals to Belize, settling the southern coast of Belize in the early 19th century. The epic story of the Garinagu begins in the early 1600's on the Caribbean island of St.  Vincent.

In 1635, two Spanish ships carrying Nigerian slaves floundered and sank off the coast of St. Vincent. The slaves that survived and swam ashore found shelter in the existing Carib Indian settlements. Over the next century and a half, the two peoples intermixed, intermarried and eventually fused into a single culture, the Black Caribs or Garinagu.
By 1773, the Black Carib was the dominant population of St. Vincent. But, European politics began to exert its influence throughout the Caribbean. A series of wars between the French and British on St. Vincent culminated in a final battle on June 10th, 1796, where the French and their Carib allies where forced to surrender and leave the island. Thus would start a journey by the exiled Caribs in search of a home.
The British deposited the Caribs on the island of Roatan, Honduras. Shortly after, the entire marooned population migrated to the mainland of Honduras and allied with the Spanish in the fortress town of Trujillo. Unfortunately, a brief civil war in 1832 found the Caribs on the wrong side and once again many were forced to flee to neighboring British Honduras.
According to tradition, the first Garifuna arrived in then British Honduras on November 19th, 1802. This day is now a national holiday in Belize celebrated with drums, dancing and pageantry. Today, there is one town in Toledo - Punta Gorda - that is considered a Garifuna town, and two Garifuna villages - Barranco (the oldest Garifuna settlement in Belize) and tiny Punta Negra.

By: Southernbelize.com

Hon. Consul General of Belize in Florida with US Senator of Florida, Senator Marco Rubio.

More Lift For Belize From Canada

Belize's tourist trade is getting a helping hand from a weighty name in this country's tourist trade.
WestJet is offering service between Toronto and Belize City into April, with the Wednesday and Saturday flights expected to make the destination significantly more attractive to those who want a quick link between this country and their holiday destination.
"We're very excited. We're definitely looking forward to more Canadians visiting Belize," Deborah Gilharry of the Belize Tourist Board said during a Tuesday Toronto visit.
Belize is promoting itself as a multi-faceted destination, offering visitors the likes of eco-tourism opportunities in a country in which more than half of the land is protected from development and shelters the likes of toucans, monkeys, tapirs and a host of other exotic creatures; beaches; and numerous archeological sites dating back over a 1,000 years in a part of the world that was a cornerstone of the Mayan civilization.
Gilharry later told a Toronto gathering that her homeland caters to "inspired explorers, not people who want to stay in the confines of a resort...You come to Belize because you want something different."
Belize claims to fame include the world's only sanctuary created specifically to safeguard jaguars; the dramatic Blue Hole, an offshore sunken cave that's popular with divers because of its remarkable hue and abundant marine life; and the relaxed island of Ambergris Caye, believed to have inspired the Madonna song, La Isla Bonita.
Seen here is the Belize delegation that attended the Toronto event.
Posted in Airlines, Destinations,


Harvest Caye Cruise Shipping Port NOW OPEN for business

Harvest Caye Cruise Shipping Port, Belize - November 17, 2016 - welcomed the first guests from the Norwegian Cruise Line to experience the beautiful southern Belize. An estimated 2000 guests inaugurated an abundant set of activities on the island and adventurous tours in Belize.

An official ribbon cutting ceremony was held to commemorate the result of a four year undertaking between the Government of Belize and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd in working together to develop a unique cruise destination. Colin Murphy, senior vice-president of destination and strategic development for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd, Manuel Heredia, Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation for Belize, Hon. Edmund Castro, Minister of Transport and NEMO, along with Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow, wife of Belize's Prime Minister Dean Barrow took the honor to cut the ribbon and officially open the Port for operations.

Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. stated that, "Today is the product of the government's continued pledge to entrench tourism as a top national priority and to promote tourism as a main engine for overall economic growth of the country. This investment alone is projected to generate 500 direct jobs and over 1,500 indirect jobs by the year 2020." We have embarked on an unprecedented and incomparable journey. The growth in cruise tourism over the past 20 years proves that Belize is a destination of choice for those seeking adventure, a host of natural wonders, and most importantly friendly and hospitable people."

"Harvest Caye is truly the ultimate Belizean experience and we are delighted to welcome our first guests today," stated Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of NCLH. "We have worked closely with the government of Belize to ensure that that this spectacular destination was authentic for our guests, provided economic opportunities for the local community and preserved and protected Belize's incredible natural beauty.
Guests can enjoy its 7 acre white sandy beaches, luxurious villas, a 1500 square foot pool and a variety of dining and bar options inclusive of international and local cuisine. Harvest Caye's lush landscape allows guests the opportunity to enjoy up close the flora and fauna with its Manatees, Scarlet Macaws and our national Bird the Toucans and for the very brave at heart various native reptiles such as the Boa Constrictors. In addition, there is a spectacular shopping village featuring locally made spirits, chocolate, artwork, craft and grilled skewers; just to name a few. Adventures and exploration are also accommodated via excursions such as river rafting, Maya temples and nature tours.

Belize looks forward to continued sustainable growth in our cruise industry and its contribution to tourism development.

For more information, please visit http://bit.ly/2flnv3e

By: Belize Tourism Board

Belizean Star of the Month
Wishing Mrs. Jean Agnes Lopez a very Happy 90th Birthday and blessings for many more to come!
Mrs. Jean Lopez pictured second to the left along with her eight children



Landmark Beauty of the Month
Former Untied States Embassy
Gabourel Lane, Belize City
Let us protect and preserve our historical Belizean landmarks 

Toronto - experience Belize in your own backyard, right in Yonge-Dundas Square! We're celebrating the new direct flight from Toronto to Belize on WestJet with the debut of the world's first Belizean drum-controlled billboard. Come jam with us! #TorontoToBelize

Click the picture to play the video.


 The 2nd Annual Belize National Entrepreneurship Convention

"Bara gumbeh no play till daylight"

Literally: A barrowed goombeh (drum) won't play until sunrise as the owner might demand it before the dance is over.
Meaning: If you own your own, it will always be available.
  Belize News 


Recipe of the Month
Hudut & Sere
Yields: 2 Servings

2   Med sized Fish
1/2 an onion sliced and cut in half
2 plugs garlic minced
2 tablespoon coconut oil / cooking oil
1 can or 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 whole Habanero pepper (optional)
Spices desired

2 green plantains
2 half ripe plantains
8 cups water
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 cup Sere

Directions:  Sere
Clean, core, and season fish with the salt and pepper and set aside.  Heat the coconut oil in pot and add onions and garlic along with desired seasoning-including salt and black Pepper.  Sautee for a few minutes and add the coconut milk and water.  Stir and add fish.  Let set for a few minutes until it starts heating up.  At this point you will constantly need to use spoon to stir milk.  Do not stir fish but keep the milk in constant movement with spoon.  The milk will start to curdle if you do not maintain the constant motion.  You can turn fish after one side is cooked.   Let soup the soup continue boiling and bubble until fish is cooked and soup is thickened.  Taste for flavour, add salt and pepper to taste. 5 minutes before you turn off the stove, add the Habanero Pepper to the soup-ensure the pepper is whole and do not break open.  After Soup is thickened remove 1/4 cup and add to the plantains in the food processor.

Directions: Hudut
Peel and cut plantains.  Each plantain should be cut in three or four pieces.  Put the green plantains to boil first in 8 cups water.  After they are half way done, add the half ripe plantains.  Let all plantains boil until they are fully cooked.  Remove from water and put them in the food processor.  Let them cool a little before processing.  You will need to process after Sere is made because you will need 1/4 cup of Sere to add to plantains before processing.  Pulse at the beginning and after just process until it is the consistency you prefer.

Happy Garifuna meal! 


Recipe from: San Ignacio Resort Hotel

 Supermoon over Belize 
The largest moon of the year, called the Supermoon, shined its biggest and brightest in nearly 70 years.
Supermoons happen when the moon's wonky elliptical orbit lines up perfectly with the Earth and the sun. On November 14, this dance of orbital physics brought the moon to within 222,000 miles of Earth - 30,000 miles closer than its most distant point - during its full lunar phase. That made our celestial neighbor appear 14% bigger and 30% brighter than normal, according to NASA.
Photographers all over the world have published fantastic images of the event. This is an amazing capture by Astrium Helicopters in Belize!


Belize Business Directory
"Thanks to our See and Taste Belize 2015 Sponsors Series"
Showcasing all our Sponsors for the next six months



If you are interested in joining the Belize Business Directory Memership please contact us at 305-503-5741 or email us at belizeconsulate@gmail.com

The Consulate of Belize in Florida 

1600 Ponce De Leon Blvd. Suite #904
Coral Gables FL 33134
T: (305) 755-0276  |  F: (305) 755-0277