President of the United States
We as members of US and global gun violence prevention and human rights organizations write to express our deepest concern about the role of US guns in growing violence against journalists and against human rights and land defenders in Mexico, specifically in the state of Guerrero. We urge you to take swift and decisive actions to stop the cross-border trafficking and legal exports of guns that find their way to that state.
An estimated 250,000 firearms are purchased annually in the US for trafficking in Mexico. Many of these guns, in addition to those exported through legal sales to the Mexican government for use by police, end up in states such as Guerrero where state forces collude with criminal organizations. Guerrero’s strategic geographical location for drug and human trafficking have made this territory the center of a deadly dispute between organized crime groups, local and state police, as well as the military, one of the main buyers of US guns in the hemisphere.
The impacts of violence in the state are undeniable. The Jose María Morelos Human Rights Center, which has accompanied victims of forced displacement and violence in Guerrero since 2011, in a letter to the White House, documented more than 1,807 forced disappearances and more than 1,360 violent homicides occurred in the state of Guerrero in 2022 alone. According to them, most of these tragic acts happened “with the use of US guns, including [A]R-15, AK 45, M4, Mini-14, AKM, G3, as well as bazookas, tripode submachine guns, Barrett rifles, hand grenades and hand guns from multiple brands”.
Article 19 and multiple media outlets have documented growing violence against journalists in Guerrero, which has become the second most dangerous state in the country and one of the most dangerous in the world to practice journalism. 10% of the 157 killings of journalists in Mexico between 2020 and 2022 happened in the state of Guerrero, including the homicide of Fredid Roman, who was gunned down in August of that year, and the recent attacks and intimidation acts on journalists Arturo de Dios and Eduardo Yener de los Santos, in January and April this year.
This targeted form of violence, with guns from the US, has a direct impact on freedom of expression and the right to report in Guerrero. According to journalist Arturo the Dios, there are “zones of silence” where it is impossible to write about violence without risking getting killed.
Activists in Guerrero are also the target of multiple forms of violence. The cases of land defenders Vicente Suástegui, disappeared in August 2021, and Arnulfo Cerón, disappeared in October 2019 and found dead in November of that same year, haven’t found justice. More recently, RFK Rockefeller awardee Tlachinollan Human Rights Center, located in Tlapa, Guerrero, denounced being the subject of illegal espionage. Teodomira Rosales, Director of the Jose María Morelos Human Rights Center in Chilpapa de Álvarez, Guerrero, was a victim herself of threats and attacks from members of organized crime groups and had to flee the state with other members of the team.
The worldwide known case of the disappearance of 43 students from the teacher’s college of Ayotzinpa, Guerrero in 2014, is another case that shows the role of US guns in Guerrero. After the disappearance of the students, local, state police and military units continued to receive guns from the US through legal purchases without any end user control requirement from the US government.
Violence in Guerrero, perpetrated mostly with US guns, will continue as long as US guns continue to arrive through legal and illegal means to the state, despite the evidence of criminal collusion and impunity for violence by local and state police and the military, as in the case of Ayotzinapa.
Many of us confirmed this in a recent delegation to Mexico, composed of human rights and gun violence prevention organizations, as we heard from the victims, journalists and human rights defenders about violence carried out by both criminal groups and military and police authorities. We witnessed the life threatening circumstances in which the population survives, with levels of gun violence considerably worse than in the United States.
President Biden, action is required now and you can play a significant role in ending gun violence in Guerrero. Please consider the following actions:
- Because of the role of US-sourced firearms in violence in Guerrero, grant asylum for all victims and survivors of violence from the state of Guerrero.
- Press the Government of Mexico for effective human rights-centered public safety in Guerrero, including effective protection for journalists and human rights and land defenders, as part of the Bicentennial Agreement.
- Include the impacts of US-sourced guns in Mexico, including high-violence regions like Guerrero, in your public and private statements about gun violence prevention.
- Direct the Departments of State and Commerce to stop all gun exports to police and military units in the state of Guerrero until substantial advances are made to end collusion between state forces and organized crime and to investigate and bring to justice serious human rights violations in the state .
- Direct federal agencies to actively enforce the provisions of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act against the trafficking of guns destined for Mexico.
- Direct ATF to lead increased cross-border efforts to end gun trafficking to Mexico and produce accurate, timely and effective gun tracing data.
We know and trust that you can and will take action before violence with US-sourced guns in Guerrero takes more innocent lives and expands to other regions in Mexico and the United States.
|Name||Nationality / Organization name|
|Evelyn Fraser||Academic Coaching DC|
|Fabiola Campos||ÁGAPE ppr la libertad y el Respeto a la Vida|
|Leonor Flores Aguilera||Amores …Cadhac|
|Arturo Cervantes Trejo||ANASEVI AC.|
|NORA TORRES Rdz||BUSCANDO NUESTROS DESAPARECIDOS DE TAMAULIPAS A.C.|
|elizabeth lee||Camada Peace Action Network|
|David Adams||Center for Architectural& Design Research|
|Norma Mendieta Mendieta||Centro de Atención a la Familia Migrante Indígena AC|
|Sara San Martín Romero||Centro de Estudios Ecumenicos A.C.|
|Ma Sandra Beatriz Mercado Sánchez||Colectivo De Pie Hasta Encontrarte Guanajuato|
|Marta Pablo Cruz||COLECTIVO OAXAQUEÑOS BUSCANDO A LOS NUESTROS A.C.|
|Rebeca Zúniga-Hamlin||Denver Justice and Peace Committee (DJPC)|
|Raquel Pastor||Derechos de la Infancia y la Adolescencia|
|José Ugalde Mejia||Desaparecidos justicia a c Querétaro|
|Mercedes Lourdez González González||Desaparecidos justicia A C. Querétaro|
|Michaelene Loughlin||Emmaus Community of Christian Hope|
|Consuelo Tafoya Guerrero||ENLACE COMUNICACIÓN Y CAPACITACIÓN A.C.|
|Ethan Vesely-Flad||Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR-USA)|
|Pedro Pérez Pineda||Firma|
|Sharon R. Olberding||Franciscan Peace Connection|
|José Luis Manzo Ramírez||Frontera con Justicia AC [Casa del Migrante Saltillo]|
|JOSE ENRIQUE KOENIGUE||FUNDEJ JALISCO|
|Judith Beck||Global Exchange|
|Don D Emmal||Hunger programs|
|Elvira Martinez Monroy||Independiente|
|Má del Socorro romo franco||Independirente|
|Brian Stefan-Szittai||InterReligious Task Force on Central America|
|Marcia Halligan||Kickapoo Peace Circle|
|Tania Del Moral||Latin America Working Group|
|Tracy Rosenberg||Media Alliance|
|Laura Carlsen||MIRA Feminisms and Democracy|
|Claudia Velasquez||Mujeres, Organización y Territorios MOOTS AC|
|Jarrett Cloud||US Citizen|
|Lindsay Hope Kern||US Citizen|
|Sherri Hodges||US Citizen|
|Jim Loveland||US Citizen|
|B.C. Shelby||US Citizen|
|Po Murray||Newtown Action Alliance|
|Jerrilynne Titsworth||US Citizen|
|David Ramsay||US Citizen|
|Calli Madrone||US Citizen|
|Trevanne Foxton||US Citizen|
|Klaus Steinbrecher||US Citizen|
|Lana Henson||US Citizen|
|Joseph Dadgari||US Citizen|
|Reed Fenton||US Citizen|
|Joel Kay||US Citizen|
|Tina Ann||US Citizen|
|Charles Dineen||US Citizen|
|Guadalupe Yanez||US Citizen|
|George Flores||US Citizen|
|Bryn Hammarstrom||US Citizen|
|Eugenia Ahern||US Citizen|
|Deborah Richardi||US Citizen|
|Jean Lindgren||US Citizen|
|Timothy Post||US Citizen|
|judith williams sandoval||US Citizen|
|JUAN CARLOS ROSAS PAREDES||US Citizen|
|Tony Segura||US Citizen|
|Jerry Rivers||North American Climate, Conservation and Environment(NACCE)|
|Daniel Perez||Ongd AFRICANDO|
|cheryl kozanitas||Peace Action of San Mateo County|
|LaVern Olberding||Peace Resource Center-San Diego|
|Paul George||Peninsula Peace and Justice Center|
|Jonathan Peter||Peterfam Trust|
|John Herbert||Portland Central America Solidarity Committee (PCASC)|
|Programa Casa Refugiados AC|
|Catalina castillo castañeda||Red x la infancia ac|
|Lana May||US Citizen|
|Elisse De Sio||US Citizen|
|Robin Terry||US Citizen|
|Abbie Bernstein||US Citizen|
|Marilyn Long||US Citizen|
|Patricia Mensing||Sisters of Saint Joseph|
|Jesús Salazar vidales||Tesoros perdidos|
|Clementina Lorenzo flores||Tesoros perdidos|
|Una promesa por cumplir|
|Maria angelica Quevedo Bedolla||Unidas por el dolor|
|Tranquilina Hernández Lagunas||Unión de familias Resilientes Buscando a sus corazones desaparecidos|
|Alexis Maestre Saborit||Union for the Justice Laura Marx|
|Irma Pous Fernandez|
|TELLO ALFONSO JULIETA|
|Elena Marquina Barrera|
|Silvia G Goytia|
|Irene Rivera Pérez|
|Sidney Ann Ramsden Scott|
|Ernst Rudolf Mecke|
|Maure C Briggs|
|Helen Gex Greer|
|Luis Escala Rabadán|
|Dorothy Lynn Brooks|
|Mark Hayduke Grenard|
|Stephanie C. Fox|
|Joseph Reginald Cota|
|Joseph De Feo|
|Manuel Leon Torres|
|Warren M. Gold|
|Scott V Grinthal|