Mexico argues in US courts damages for arms imports

The government of Mexico reported this Wednesday that it is resorting to the United States courts to indicate that it has suffered damages derived from arms imports.

The move comes in a context in which, according to a US Congress report, many experts say that previous anti-drug efforts in Mexico have failed and new strategies are needed, but mutual mistrust and new regulations governing how in which US agents operate in Mexico could limit policy options.

While the government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador would likely welcome increased U.S. efforts to combat arms trafficking or money laundering, it may hesitate to accept U.S. attempts to improve the U.S.-led security strategy. Mexican army or human rights record.

In addition to the above, the report adds that some analysts suggest confidence-building efforts to repair security relationships through high-level security dialogue; Others suggest a unilateral approach by the United States, involving fresh accusations by Mexican officials, the suspension of part of Merida’s aid and the suspension of extraditions to Mexico.

Arms imports

Regarding the news, the Ministry of Foreign Relations (SRE) argued that the lawsuit is one more component of the Mexican government’s broad strategy against organized crime and armed violence in Mexico and seeks to promote responsible trade measures that prevent illicit arms trafficking. towards Mexico and its use in illegal activities.

The measure was reported at an event on Wednesday, headed by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Marcelo Ebrard Casaubon.

Also participating in the event were Senator Ricardo Monreal Ávila; deputy Ignacio Mier Velazco; legal consultant of the Foreign Ministry, Alejandro Celorio Alcántara; founder of the firm Hilliard & Shadowen, Steve Shadowen; and academic specialist in security issues in Mexico, María De Haas Matamoros.

In the presentation, the members of the panel discussed the negligent actions of companies involved in the arms trade, which promote access to high-powered weapons such as those used in massive attacks and incidents of violence in Mexico.

Criminal organizations on both sides of the border buy thousands of pistols, rifles, assault weapons and ammunition in supermarkets, on the Internet, arms fairs and from traffickers, which are used in the commission of illegal acts in Mexico.

Sale to the public

The Government of Mexico stated that it is respectful of the freedoms and rights granted by the laws of other countries. In this sense, the lawsuit does not intend to question the right to trade arms in another country, but rather to denounce that certain negligent practices in that trade generate damage in Mexico.

Within the framework of these actions, Foreign Minister Ebrard indicated that a civil claim for damages was filed «for the defendant companies to compensate the Government of Mexico for the damages caused by their negligent practices.» He indicated that the amount of this demand will be determined at trial.

The Secretary emphasized that it is necessary for companies to «develop and implement reasonable, verifiable standards to monitor and, where appropriate, discipline their distributors.»

He added as essential that they also incorporate security mechanisms in their weapons to prevent them from being used by unauthorized persons or linked to crime; that they pay for studies, programs, media campaigns and other events aimed at combating illicit trafficking; that companies immediately cease negligent practices that cause harm and death in our country.

The central argument of the litigation is that, for several decades, the defendant companies have been aware that the arms they sell are trafficked and used in illicit activities in Mexico, including in attacks against the authorities.

Without being able to ignore the use that is given to arms imports in Mexico, the defendants promote their sale to the general public, highlighting their military characteristics, allow multiple sales to a single buyer and facilitate sales between individuals, in which they are not made. background checks of the buyer or the origin of the weapon.