The Diffusion of Small Arms and Light Weapons 

in Latin America


by Michael Klare and David Andersen





* Title Page, Copyright Information, and Acknowledgements

* Foreword by Oscar Arias Sanchez
1) Arms and Violence in Latin America
2) Domestic Arms Production
3) U.S. and Soviet Military Aid
4) Commercial Sales
5) Black-Market Transfers
6) Covert Gun-Running by Governments
7) Findings and Recommendations
* Afterword by Graciela Uribe de Lozano
* Appendix on Light Arms Production

"A Scourge of Guns...offers important testimony in a concise, professional, and convincing manner. As a Latin American worried by the increase of violence in our region, I thank and congratulate...the Federation of American Scientists for publishing this book."
---Oscar Arias Sanchez former President of Costa Rica

"When the daily news makes clear that the traffic in small arms and explosives is aiding terrorists, mercenaries, criminals, and drug traffickers some of whom possess weapons superior to those in the hands of the national army it is no longer possible to feign ignorance about the threat such trafficking poses to people's lives and regional stability. Michael Klare and David Andersen...clarify the dimensions of violence and the relationship of light weapons trafficking to the conflicts in the region."
---Graciela Uribe de Lozano Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Scourge of Guns Press release.

Summary of our Study:

Legal shipments of weapons to Latin America, including data on U.S. arms exported to governments in Latin America, through State, Commerce and Defense Department programs. Since data on many aspects of U.S. exports of light arms are currently not made public, we have filed a series of requests under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain such information. It also includes current Latin American national light weapons inventories.

Latin American weapons production and exports, including data on the licensed production of U.S. and European weapons in Latin America, and on sales of Latin American arms within the Western Hemisphere.

Illegal shipments of light weapons to and from the Western Hemisphere. We developed a data-base of incidents of light weapons trafficking in Latin America, which illustrates the methods, scope and prevalence of the black market trade.

Effects of the diffusion of light weapons on the level of violence and state stability in the Western Hemisphere. We examined the impact of liberal access to light arms on development, democracy, civil-military relations, political stability, governance, and corruption throughout the hemisphere. We also looked at the "backlash" phenomenon of U.S.-manufactured arms to narco-traffickers in Latin America returning to the streets of America.

Policy recommendations. Based on our research, we made four proposals to help control the flow of small arms and light weapons in the Western Hemisphere.

Please also see, The U.S. Arms Both Sides of Mexico's Drug War, an article written by Lora Lumpe on the impact of U.S. gun control laws and military aid policy on the drug trade in Mexico.

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