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Mexico’s Journalists in the Crossfire of the International Arms Trade

by Phineas Rueckert, Forbidden Stories
December 9, 2020

At least 86 of 119 journalists and media workers killed in Mexico since 2000 have been killed by firearms. Yet very few cases lead to an arrest and even fewer to a conviction. Over a months-long investigation, Forbidden Stories examined the flow of weapons into Mexico, analyzing thousands of declassified documents obtained by the NGO Stop US Arms to Mexico. These documents, along with the new report “Deadly Trade,” published today, suggest that in addition to weapons trafficked illegally across the US border, weapons produced overseas and sold legally to the Mexican Army may also be used to commit human rights violations.

This article is the fourth chapter of the Cartel Project, a series of investigations coordinated by Forbidden Stories, whose mission is to continue the work of murdered or threatened journalists.


  • At least 86 out of 119 journalists and media workers killed in Mexico since 2000 were killed by firearms.
  • Between 2008 and 2018, the Mexican Army sold 205,395 European and Israeli firearms to local police, including to police with a documented history of human rights violations and collusion with cartels.
  • European companies that sell weapons to Mexico may have also bypassed EU export laws, which require end-user certificates to be signed for all weapons exports to Mexico, according to a new report.
  • NGOs estimate as many as 60 percent of weapons trafficked across the US border into Mexico were first imported into the US.

International weapons manufacturers are undiscerning when it comes to selling to states with a long track record of human rights violations, according to John Lindsay-Poland, the director of Stop US Arms to Mexico.

“They clearly know that weapons are going to states like Guerrero and Veracruz and Tamaulipas and Chihuahua that have long, well-documented histories of corruption and human rights abuses and impunity,” he said. “In our view, they’re culpable.”

Read the whole article at Forbidden Stories.