Monday, December 05, 2022

Mexican victims speak out against arms manufacturers

NEW YORK ( Associated Press) – Mothers of gun violence victims, activists and academics submitted a letter on Monday detailing the “devastating” effects of illegal arms trafficking in Mexico in support of the Mexican government’s prosecution of US arms manufacturers.

The document’s 25 signatories assured in the document that weapons that fall into the hands of criminal groups destroy both Mexican life and the country’s “social factory”.

“They have fueled an increase in violence and killings in Mexico, killing hundreds of thousands, displacing thousands of residents, and costing the Mexican government billions of dollars in military and police spending,” the document indicates.

The letter was entered into the electronic system of US federal courts just before the Mexican government responded to requests from arms manufacturers to dismiss the lawsuit. The defendants are Smith & Wesson, Barrett Firearms, Beretta, Century International, Colts Manufacturing, Glock Inc., Sturm, Ruger & Company, and Witmer Public Safety Group.

The lawsuit was filed in Massachusetts federal court in August 2021 on the grounds that the negligence and illegal business practices of these companies caused much bloodshed in Mexico. The Mexican government says the companies know their practices contribute to and facilitate arms smuggling into Mexico.

The companies have assured that there are many actors in the business of selling weapons, that it is legitimate, and their responsibility has been reduced in the process.

One of the signatories to Monday’s letter is Mexican Maria Herrera, who became a human rights activist after four children went missing. Everything indicates that they were victims of criminal groups. Herrera is one of the founders of the Red de Annales Nacional, a group that reunites the relatives of missing persons and organizes search brigades.

Another signatory is María Isabel Cruz Bernal, founder of Sabeusos Guerreras, a group of mothers and relatives searching for missing loved ones. Cruz Bernal’s son was a municipal police officer who disappeared in Sinaloa after armed men took him from his home.

Other signatories are the Church for Peace, the Centro Prodhé or the Forum for Peace and Justice in Guanajuato.

According to the Foreign Ministry, Mexico estimates that 70% of the weapons smuggled into the country come from the United States. In 2019, at least 17,000 murders were linked to these weapons, according to estimates by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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