Sidebar on U.S. Helps to Combat Illicit Trafficking in Arms in the Western Hemisphere

Bureau of Resource Management
November 15, 2010

Photo showing Colombia's President Uribe standing with Secretary of State Clinton who is shaking hands with a demobilized former member of one of Colombia's armed groups at the Presidential Palace in Bogota, June 9, 2010.

Colombia’s President Uribe stands with Secretary of State Clinton who shakes hands with a demobilized former member of one of Colombia’s armed groups at the Presidential Palace in Bogota, June 9, 2010. ¬©AP Image

President Obama and Secretary Clinton continued their commitment to combating threats to the citizens of the Americas. As narco-trafficking and associated crime and violence continue to rise throughout the region, the United States has implemented programs to strengthen partnerships with the States of the Western Hemisphere to combat illicit trafficking in arms.

The U.S. has offered technical assistance to all States in the hemisphere, outlining available U.S. small arms and light weapons-related assistance programs to combat illicit trafficking. Programs are being designed to address the specific needs of individual States. Some highlights of our efforts to combat illicit trafficking include:

  • As part of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, the United States is partnering with Caribbean States to develop programs that address requests for technical assistance to help tackle trafficking in firearms throughout the region.
  • The United States signed eTrace agreements with all seven Central American States and 14 of the 15 Caribbean States. ETrace is a web-based firearm trace request submission system that provides for the electronic exchange of criminal gun data in a secure environment. Expanding eTrace participation throughout the hemisphere was a priority for 2010, including the introduction of a Spanish version of the eTrace software.
  • The United States provided the Organization of American States (OAS) a grant to supply marking equipment to States in the region in order to increase hemispheric capability to trace firearms and identify illicit trafficking routes and suppliers.
  • The United States has assessed and offered stockpile management and destruction assistance to a number of States in Latin America and the Caribbean. Through the destruction of aging and unsafe stockpiles, States are avoiding the potential disaster of an explosion, ensuring an increased level of safety for their citizens.