Alongside the publication Sunday of an Op-Ed by President Barack Obama in the Arizona Daily Star, calling to reinforce existent U.S. gun control laws regarding background checks, El Diario of Ciudad Juarez has published a piece criticizing the complicity of Mexican customs agents in allowing weapons to cross the northern border. “We are scandalized because the U.S. is selling weapons, but these are crossing through customs,” said Hernan Ortiz Quintana, leader of a Juarez-based advocacy group for more transparent government, known as CIMAP. This follows a previous report by El Diario that the army decomissioned 5,221 illegal weapons in Chihuahua between 2007 and 2010, all of which apparently entered Mexico undetected by customs. While President Obama’s Op-Ed did not even make reference to Mexico while discussing greater gun restrictions, focusing instead on the January shooting that killed six people in Tucson, it is still an overt move by the president to tackle one of the most politically heated issues in both the U.S. and Mexico.
- La Razon reports on a surge in drug seizures between the Peruvian and Bolivian border. In an area near Lake Titicaca, Peruvian police have reportedly seized 511 kilos of drugs during the first two months of the year, in comparison to the 700 kilos seized during all of 2010. This comes at a time when both the United Nations International Narcotis Control Board report and the U.S Department of State’s drug control policy report show that illegal coca cultivations and cocaine production is on the rise in Peru.
- La Prensa of Nicaragua reports that some 12,000 civilians are in possession of more than 15,000 firearms just in the province of Matagalpa, according to departmental police. These figures are based on official police records, and include at least 6,469 weapons with expired licenses. The implication is that with such a large number of arms readily avaliable in the local market, there is greater risk of high-calibre weapons ending up in the hands of drug trafficking organizations.