November 12, 2019 – Italy is exporting tens of thousands of high-powered weapons to Mexican forces involved in human rights violations, corruption, and widespread violence, a study by a bi-national research team revealed.
In the last twelve years, Italy has been the second largest exporter of non-military guns, rifles and ammunition. On average, Italian companies have sold and shipped ten thousand pistols, revolvers and 1,100 rifles to the Mexican market each year. Mexico has been the second largest Latin American importer of Italian military weapons.
Mexican police armed with Beretta weapons attacked and disappeared 43 student teachers from Ayotzinapa in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero in 2014. “It isn’t possible that the gun manufacturers go on without recognizing the damage they have done to our children and our people,” said Antonio Tizapa, father of one of the 43 disappeared students. “Let us hope that the manufacturers do not continue to sell weapons to Mexico, because they are disappearing us.”
The Beretta group has dominated military weapons sales to Mexico (valued at 50 million euros since 2007), as well as being a major player in the civilian weapons market. All Beretta’s brands and plants have contributed to this arms flow: including Beretta, Benelli, Stoeger, Sako, which are manufactured in Italy, Finland, Turkey and the U. S.
In Mexico, Italian arms enter the market through the army, which distributes weapons to military personnel, state and municipal police and individuals. More than 20,000 such weapons were stolen or went missing since 2006, with many falling into the hands of criminals.
“Italian weapons exports and the lack of end use controls are pouring fuel on the fire of violence in Mexico,” said Carlo Tombola of Arms Watch (Osservatorio Permanente Armi Leggere , OPAL). “Italy should suspend its weapons exports to Mexico,” he said.
The EU Common Position states that, when “there is a clear risk that the military technology or equipment to be exported might be used for internal repression”, export licenses should be denied. This is especially true of countries with serious human rights violations. In fact, the end users of imported weapons are often those police with documented human rights abuse and guilty of colluding with organized criminal groups.
Data and information, gathered by OPAL and Stop U.S. Arms to Mexico, is presented in Italy’s contribution to the Mexican powder keg, a report released simultaneously in three languages (Italian, Spanish and English).
For more information and to take action, contact:
John Lindsay-Poland, +1 510 282 8983
Stop U.S. Arms to Mexico: www.stopusarmstomexico.org
Carlo Tombola, +39 349 6751366
Arms and Security Policy Observatory (Osservatorio Permanente Armi Leggere e Politiche di Sicurezza) – Brescia: www.opalbrescia.org