Global Exchange’s Stop US Arms to Mexico program hosted an International Delegation to Investigate the Weapons Flow to Mexico last month. Experts and gun violence prevention advocates from five countries that supply weapons to Mexico came to meet with impacted communities and policymakers in Mexico in February 2023.
We are pleased to share Chairwoman of Newtown Action Alliance & Newtown Action Alliance Foundation, Po Murray’s update from the delegation.
I was honored to be invited by John Lindsey Poland from Stop U.S. Arms to Mexico, a project of Global Exchange, (and Centro Cultural Universitario Tlatelolco, Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights, Center for Ecumenical Studies, and Global Thought Mx.) to join an international delegation from Austria, Belgium, Germany, Israel, Italy, and the U.S. (including Change the Ref cofounder Manuel Oliver whose son Joaquin was killed in Parkland, John Lowy who founded Global Action on Gun Violence, and Jordan Giger from Black Lives Matter South Bend), to travel to Mexico to embark on a journey to 1) meet with gun violence survivors, survivors of the disappeared, displaced journalists, Mexican Senators, Mexican government officials, U.S. ATF agents, officials from the U.S. Embassy, and the civic society leaders and advocates; and 2) to attend the Peace Summit.
In Mexico City, we met a mother who was completely heartbroken because her four sons had disappeared. In Guerrero, a state that has been on the U.S. State Department travel advisory list due to high levels of violence and kidnapping, we met many survivors of gun violence and disappeared citizens — including a wife whose husband went to a meeting and never made it home. Now, she has little to no income to feed her children and she has been threatened and silenced. We met numerous journalists who have been threatened, silenced, and displaced. We also met one of the mothers of the 43 male students who disappeared from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College after being forcibly abducted in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico in 2014.
We learned that Mexico has strong gun laws and only one gun store that is managed by the Mexican Army. We also learned that more than 110,000 Mexican citizens have disappeared since records have been kept. U.S. weapons are contributing to Mexico’s human rights crisis. Over 70-90% of crime guns from Mexico are from the United States with most of the trafficked weapons coming from Texas and Arizona. Watch THIS excellent Vice News video on how the Mexican drug cartel is smuggling thousands of U.S. weapons from the U.S. border into Mexico- — including Barrett .50 calibers that have been used to attempt to shoot down planes. These Barrett .50 calibers would be banned if the U.S. Congress passed the federal assault weapons ban legislation. President Biden is ready to sign the bill into law.
In August 2021, the Mexican government filed a $10 billion lawsuit against eleven U.S. gun manufacturers, including Smith & Wesson, Colt and Beretta, accusing them of marketing and selling weapons of war favored by the drug cartel and contributing to Mexico’s bloodshed. In September 2022, a federal judge from Massachusetts dismissed the case. The Mexican government is currently appealing the lawsuit and filed another lawsuit against numerous gun shops and dealers in Arizona.
The guns manufactured and not very well regulated in the U.S. are killing our children and loved ones in the U.S. and in Mexico. The trafficked weapons arm the drug cartels that supply fentanyl to the U.S. citizens and many Mexican families are being displaced to the U.S. border due to violence and corruption.
President Biden and the U.S. Members of Congress must act to stop fueling the violence in Mexico!
The journey to Mexico was overwhelming since stopping the flow of illegal U.S. weapons will be the first step towards finding peace, safety, and prosperity for the people of Mexico whose basic human rights have been stripped. We promised the survivors that we would take their stories and deliver them to President Biden, the Members of U.S. Congress, and the U.S. citizens. I made a promise to the international delegation that I will work with them to stop the flow of U.S. weapons into Mexico.