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Over 100 International Organizations Urge President Biden to Stop U.S. Arms Sales to Mexico

Press Release, April 13 2021
Comunicado en Español

Contact: Marco Castillo 646-826-9834 / Daniella Burgi-Palomino 917-364-2736

(Washington D.C.)—Today more than 100 international human rights, faith-based, grassroots, and foreign policy organizations, including Amnesty International USA, March for Our Lives, Win Without War, Brady Campaign, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Global Exchange, and the Latin America Working Group delivered a letter to President Biden urging him to stop U.S. firearms sales to Mexico until effective end user controls are established. The letter references the January 2021 massacre of sixteen Guatemalan and three Mexican migrants in Camargo, Tamaulipas state, just miles from the U.S. border for which twelve Mexican state police officers have been arrested. Mexican state police officers involved in the massacre belonged to an elite unit whose members were armed with U.S.-exported assault rifles and received U.S. training.

“The ‘Camargo massacre’ is among the most recent — of tens of thousands of murders and millions of acts of intimidation all across Mexico and the region, many committed by local and state police illegally using arms exported from the USA — against civilians,” the NGOs said. 

The NGOs’ appeal follows a letter last month from 8 U.S. Senators to Secretary of State Blinken that asks how the United States is monitoring U.S. gun exports to Mexico and ensuring that they do not go to human rights abusers. 

The organizations urge President Biden to ensure that all end user certificates for firearms exports correctly identify who are the ultimate buyers of U.S. weapons, as the current end use control system has proven ineffective in stopping U.S. weapons shipments to state police involved in human rights violations. Meanwhile, the groups said, the Biden administration should conduct a review and suspension of arms sales to Mexico.

“The best way in which the Biden Administration can honor its promise to address the root causes of violence and forced migration in the region is by suspending U.S. gun exports until receiving countries implement effective end user controls that stop guns from ending up in the hands of corrupt police officers and criminals. Starting with Mexico is a very important step,” said Marco Castillo, Co-Director at Global Exchange. 

“Until the United States has a way to keep weapons from going to units that commit massacres or collude with cartels, it should stop weapons exports to Mexico,” said John Lindsay-Poland, who coordinates the Global Exchange project to Stop US Arms to Mexico.

Full letter in English and Spanish 

Individual petition in English and Spanish