Mexico sues US arms companies for sale to organized crime

Illegal weapons easily go to criminal groups. Photo Archive

The Mexican government announced this Wednesday an "unprecedented" lawsuit against 11 companies that manufacture and sell weapons in the United States, which it accuses of negligence for facilitating illicit trafficking and thus triggering violence in the country, said EFE.

The appeal was filed in a federal court in Boston, Massachusetts, against some of the largest arms companies in the United States, such as Smith & Wesson, Colt, Barrett Firearms or Sturm, Ruger & Co., to repair the damage and guarantee non-repetition.

"What is the OBJETIVE? First, that the defendant companies compensate the Government of Mexico for the damages caused by their negligent practices. The amount of this requirement will be determined in the trial, "said the chancellor, Marcelo Ebrard, when presenting the lawsuit.

The most violent business

More than half a million weapons are trafficked each year from the United States to Mexico and are responsible for 17.000 annual homicides and damages equivalent to 1,5% of GDP, according to data presented by the Ministry of Foreign Relations (SRE).

Ebrard even accused the manufacturers of "developing different models for the narco."

"They are used by drug trafficking, they are made for that, for them to buy them, they are more valuable, they have different types of arrangements, from the aesthetic point of view and from the point of view of use," said the secretary.

The lawsuit comes when Mexico has registered the two most violent years in its history, coinciding with the first two years of the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, with 34.681 murder victims in 2019 and 34.554 in 2020.

The homicide rate remains at its highest level in history since 2018, with 29 per 100.000 inhabitants, the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi) revealed last week.

Therefore, the demand "is correct, timely, courageous and fair," said the president of the Senate's Political Coordination Board (Jucopo), Ricardo Monreal.

«It (is) not only the reparation of the damage, but to prevent the continued generation of this tragedy of violence that Mexico is experiencing. I am sure that many of our problems in terms of violence are caused by the illegal use and illegal introduction of weapons into our country, "he said.

They expect a long process

Although the foreign minister was sure of "winning the trial," a "long process" and "quite a long time" is expected, said Emerson Segura, parliamentary adviser in the Senate and associate of the Mexican Council for International Affairs (Comexi).

«This demand is not going to mean that there are fewer weapons and that in a short time violence will decrease in Mexico. All of this seems unrealistic to me, but without a doubt it is an issue that involves something very important in the bilateral relationship, which is security and drug trafficking, "the analyst told Efe.

The appeal "is a way to reincorporate a political agenda of the Chancellor that had been a little neglected," said the specialist.

The lawsuit comes a day after Ebrard's visit to El Paso, where 23 people - nine of them Mexican - were killed two years ago in a shootout fueled by racism.

The Foreign Ministry of Mexico has taken an agenda to condemn hate crimes, racism and white supremacism since the presidency of Donald Trump (2017-2021).

"What is relevant is that they found a way of pressure that is only viable with a Democratic government. This with Trump would have been unthinkable, "Segura said.

The SRE emphasized that the lawsuit is not against the United States Government, thanking its cooperation on the issue under the Joe Biden Administration.

"I do not foresee any kind of diplomatic difference with the United States," said Ebrard, questioned by the press.

But the appeal comes when both countries are already facing other frictions, in particular due to respect for the trade rules of the Agreement between Mexico, the United States and Canada (T-MEC).

“The issue of weapons is very large and complex in the United States, so beyond seeing it as a success, it joins a list that the Joe Biden Government has to resolve and on which to rule. I do not think they see it with very good eyes, "concluded Segura.



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