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Surviving Gun Crime in Guatemala: Firearm Death and Disability

19 October 2005

BBC News / Crossing Continents on BBC Radio 4

When I met Gustavo Masariegos in the Guatemalan Institute of Social Security hospital (IGSS), it was eight months since he had been shot. He lifted his head from the pillow to show me the scar on his neck where the bullet entered, and in a split second transformed his life. Gustavo is now a quadriplegic. Before two men tried to kill him on the street, Gustavo was a judge with 12 years experience under his belt. And this was not a random attack. In the first few... (

Read More: BBC News / Crossing Continents on BBC Radio 4



Gun Running Hard to Eradicate: UN Programme of Action [Es]

14 June 2005

Prensa Libre

El Plan de Acción de Naciones Unidas para la erradicación del tráfico ilegal de armas no se cumple en Guatemala. El país no tendrá muchos avances para presentar en la Organización de las Naciones Unidas (ONU) en cuanto a qué ha hecho para erradicar el tráfico de armas ligeras. Una evaluación efectuada por el Instituto de Enseñanza para el Desarrollo Sostenible (Iepades) señala que entre los puntos que deberían cumplirse está la adecuación de la... (

Read More: Prensa Libre


United States,South America,Central America

Looser Gun Laws a Dangerous Precedent

6 May 2005

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Column

WASHINGTON — A word of advice to Latin Americans traveling to Florida in the near future: Be on your absolute best behavior. Keep a smile on your face and lest any gesture you make appears as a threat, keep your hands in your pockets. Then again, don't. You'd better keep them out in the open where they can be seen. Last week, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush signed the so-called Castle Doctrine, making it lawful for Floridians to "meet force with force, including deadly force"... (

Read More: Seattle Post-Intelligencer



Honduras Busts Three for Colombia Arms, Drugs Deal

20 March 2005


TEGUCIGALPA — Honduras said on Sunday that it had discovered an arms-and-drug trafficking operation linking Colombian rebels and arms traffickers in Honduras and Nicaragua. Honduran Security Minister Oscar Alvarez said arms traffickers in Honduras were shipping mostly AK-47 assault rifles to Colombia's largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, in exchange for drugs. "The drugs were presumably then destined for the United States,... (

Read More: Reuters


Central America,South America,Caribbean,United States

Disarming Latin America: US Conventional Arms Threat Reduction Act

17 February 2005

Washington Post

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Congress will soon have an opportunity to reduce the proliferation of arms in Latin America and in the process make its most significant contribution to security in the hemisphere in years. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard G. Lugar, who helped write the 1991 law that has since deactivated more than 6,500 nuclear warheads from the Soviet arsenal, is turning his attention to stockpiles of conventional weapons around the world.... (

Read More: Washington Post


Costa Rica

Cabbie Shoots Bin Laden. Well You Would, Wouldn't You?

14 December 2004

Associated Press

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica — Osama bin Laden take note: You wouldn't be safe in Costa Rica. A startled taxi driver shot and wounded a jokester wearing a plastic mask of the al-Qaida leader, police said Tuesday. Leonel Arias, 47, told police he was playing a practical joke by donning the Bin Laden mask, toting his pellet rifle and jumping out to scare drivers on a narrow street in his hometown, Carrizal de Alajuela, about 20 miles north of San Jose. Arias had startled... (

Read More: Associated Press



Disabled Gunshot Victims Promote IANSA in London

4 December 2004

AM radio programme, ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

HAMISH ROBERTSON: Well, AIDS and poverty aren't the only crises afflicting the developing world. Another issue causing widespread misery is gun violence — a problem that's yet to grip the global conscience. Every year, 300,000 people are killed by guns — and another million are left disabled. Most of these casualties are in developing countries which are ill-equipped to cope. In London, members of the Guatemalan wheelchair basketball team have been drawing... (

Read More: AM radio programme, ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)


Peru,Central America,Caribbean,South America,Brazil,Colombia,Ecuador,Venezuela

Latin America Top of the Global Gun Death Chart

19 August 2004

Latin America Press

A recent report by the Institute for International Studies in Geneva found that between 73,000 and 90,000 people are killed each year by firearms in Latin America and the Caribbean. With an average of 16 homicides for every 100,000 inhabitants, Latin America and the Caribbean is the region with the highest percentage of firearm deaths in the world. "At least eight Latin American and Caribbean countries have indices of firearm deaths higher than 10 for every 100,000... (

Read More: Latin America Press



Regional Agreement Needed, Says NGO

6 August 2004

InterPress Service

MEXICO CITY — More than 1.6 million firearms are in the hands of Central Americans who are dying and killing daily under the law of the gun. Guatemala — one of the nations hardest hit by weapons trafficking and use — is urging neighbouring countries to put a stop to the rhetoric and draw up a regional agreement that would make it possible to deal with this drastic situation. In El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, where violent crime is soaring, 70 percent of... (

Read More: InterPress Service


South America,Argentina,Bolivia,Brazil,Chile,Colombia,Ecuador,Mexico,Paraguay,Peru,Uruguay,Venezuela,Central America

Latin America Armed to the Teeth With 80 Million Guns [Es]

3 July 2004

La Opinión (USA), Opinion

GINEBRA — Con una población conjunta de 464 millones de habitantes, 11 países — Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, México, Paraguay, Perú, Uruguay y Venezuela —, poseen hasta 80 millones de armas de fuego, según revelan los resultados de la Encuesta de armas pequeñas 2004: derechos en riesgo, realizada por el Instituto de Posgrado de Altos Estudios Internacionales, dados a conocer en Ginebra la semana pasada. Exceptuando a Ecuador, todos... (

Read More: La Opinión (USA)



Guns for Bikes, Guns for Sewing Machines

3 June 2004

Associated Press

GUATEMALA CITY — Give up that old pistol and Guatemala's government will give you corrugated metal sheets for roofing. Two guns will get you a new bicycle. Three gets you a sewing machine. President Oscar Berger on Thursday announced a plan to reduce the number of guns in Guatemala by letting people trade them for valued goods. Speaking at a party political event, Berger said he would officially announce the new program on June 9, a day dedicated to the... (

Read More: Associated Press


Guatemala,El Salvador

Armed Children

29 January 2004

Latin America Press

Easy access to small arms following armed conflicts in Guatemala and El Salvador has exacerbated violence in those countries, with children being the main victims, United Nations Secretary Kofi Annan said. Some 370 children and young people under 23 were killed in Guatemala City in the first half of 2003, according to a recent UN report. Of them, more than 100 were street children under 18. Annan said that the impact of wars on children goes much further and as an... (

Read More: Latin America Press


United States,El Salvador

Guns Bound for El Salvador Seized at Port

11 July 2003

Oregonian (Portland)

A cargo container of guns en route from China to Central America was stopped at the Port of Portland in one of the largest arms seizures in Oregon history. U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection officials said Thursday the handguns, shotguns and ammunition magazines were headed to an arms dealer in El Salvador. The shipment contained 780 handguns, 300 standard pump shotguns, 150 pistol-grip shotguns and 950 ammunition magazines, with an estimated value of... (

Read More: Oregonian (Portland)



Report Blames Nicaragua for Guns Diverted to Colombian Paramilitary

21 January 2003

Associated Press

PANAMA CITY, Panama — An Organization of American States report released Monday accused Nicaragua of negligence for authorizing a deal that allowed 3,000 Kalashnikov rifles meant for Panama to go to a Colombian paramilitary militia. The Washington-based OAS faulted Nicaragua for not doing more to verify the authenticity of falsified Panamanian purchase orders it used to go ahead with the sale. "To base this deal on only one purchase order not verified by any... (

Read More: Associated Press



US Ambassador Knew of Arms Deal

23 November 2002

Panama News

The latest twist to the scandal over a large shipment of AK-47 assault rifles that on paper went from the Nicaraguan police to the Panamanian police, but actually went to Colombia's AUC paramilitary, is that the US ambassador to Nicaragua knew about the deal, or at least part of it. Nicaraguan government officials say that they cleared the transaction with American Ambassador Oliver Garza before purportedly selling the weapons to Panama via Israeli-owned and... (

Read More: Panama News



Israeli Businessman Arrested for Suspected Arms Dealings With FARC

22 November 2002

Agence France Presse

PANAMA CITY — Panamanian authorities have detained an Israeli businessman, Simon Yelinek, who is suspected of arms dealings with Colombia, his lawyer said Friday. Yelinek was arrested Thursday night at Panama's Tocumen international airport, said the lawyer Sidney Sitton. He is under questioning for arms trafficking, one police official said. Yelinek is suspected of being linked to an arms deal uncovered last April by Colombian daily El Tiempo. According to the... (

Read More: Agence France Presse



Panamanians Turn in Guns for Food

29 August 2002

Associated Press

Guillermo Bonilla turned his illegal .38-caliber pistol over to authorities Thursday in exchange for food coupons worth $180 — no questions asked. Behind Bonilla, a man who identified himself only as Miguel turned in several grenades he said he found following the U.S. invasion of Panama in 1988. He received $250 in coupons. With crime increasing in this town of 300,000 people near Panama City, residents were allowed to turn in their weapons Thursday at a tent set... (

Read More: Associated Press


El Salvador

Toy Gun Does the Job for Security Guard

27 May 2002


SAN SALVADOR — El Salvador long has been portrayed as a violent land of men with guns, but one security guard in a dangerous suburb of the capital used a toy pistol on the job, and no one knew the difference. The fake weapon was discovered by National Civil Police among unregistered arms being used by security agencies, officials said on Friday. The guard, one of 18,000 private security agents in the crime-ridden Central American country, at first refused to give up... (

Read More: Reuters


Central America,Honduras,Nicaragua,El Salvador,Guatemala,Costa Rica,Panama

Central America: Civilians Armed to the Teeth

4 December 2001

Inter Press Service

SAN JOSE — There are more than two million illicit small arms and light weapons circulating in Central America, a region of 35 million, authorities and civil society organisations warned at a regional conference running Monday through Wednesday in the Costa Rican capital. The government of Costa Rica and the non-governmental Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress expressed their concern over the large number of firearms still in the hands of civilians, a... (

Read More: Inter Press Service



Guatemalans Seek Protection

17 May 2000

Associated Press

GUATEMALA CITY — In the city, guns will soon outnumber people. In the countryside, heavily armed private security forces are becoming more common than electricity and phone service. Crime has gotten so out of hand that 4,000 Guatemalan troops are taking to the streets Saturday to aid an overworked police force. Even the vice president, a camera-shy bureaucrat known here mainly for blending into the furniture, surprised Guatemalans by appearing on television May 29... (

Read More: Associated Press