Trump Is Sending Guns South as Migrants Flee North
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The administration’s push to weaken oversight of gun exports could worsen the Central American refugee crisis.
BY ALEX YABLON
MARCH 8, 2019, 6:00 AM
When Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández was re-elected in November 2017, in a vote that outside monitors described as tainted by fraud, protestors around the country took to the streets. Hernández’s first term had been marked by violent crime and corruption; many voters wanted change.
In the ensuing days, military police opened fire on the demonstrators, killing more than 30 people and wounding hundreds. Photos published in the Miami Herald showed officers shooting some protesters in the back. They also revealed something else: The troops were using U.S.-made M4 rifles, the military version of the AR-15.
The United States provides more small arms and ammunition to Central America than any other country does. The market in the region expanded steadily during former President Barack Obama’s time in office and appears set to increase under President Donald Trump as well, according to customs data collected by the United Nations Comtrade program. Though the transactions look small compared to the multibillion-dollar arms deals the United States conducts with, say, Saudi Arabia—the United States approved $2 million to $4 million in gun sales per year to Honduras between 2015 and 2017—the impact of such sales can be substantial in a poor country with a small population and a weak or corrupt government.
Some of those guns went to authorities who turned them on innocent civilians, as the 2017 protests show. The guns seen in the photos seem to have been exported by Colt’s Manufacturing, a Connecticut-based gun-maker. The company did not return phone calls seeking comment. Other weapons ended up in the hands of criminals, through illicit deals involving corrupt army officers, according to a 2017 report by two nongovernmental groups that investigate law enforcement and corruption in Latin America.
May 25, 2019 at 3:49 PM #70374Ohio BarbarianModerator
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The OP was in March, now it’s the end of May and the number of refugees from Guatemala and Honduras is only increasing. One thinks there may be a connection. Thanks for posting this in the Reading Room, Judi. It makes it easier to go back and see things that were prescient.
It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs
You can jail a revolutionary, but you can't jail the revolution.--Fred Hampton
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