2015 To Walk the Earth in Safety: Western Hemisphere

Bureau of Political-Military Affairs

In spite of a history of civil wars and conflicts with internal armed groups in the Western Hemisphere over the last half-century, the region is making extraordinary progress toward democracy and economic development. During the last decade, the economies of Latin America and the Caribbean grew at a rate of 4 percent a year and more than 73 million people across the region moved out of poverty.

Nevertheless, Latin America has the highest rate of criminal violence in the world due in part to a tenuous law enforcement situation challenged by an illegal narcotics and weapons trade. U.S. CWD efforts remain essential to assisting the region to alleviate the threat of violence and illicit trafficking of weapons.

Continued political progress in Latin America will facilitate greater emphasis on humanitarian demining and building CWD capacity. Peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia–Ejército del Pueblo (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia–People’s Army or FARC) have led to a pre-agreement to mutually assist in demining efforts after a formal peace agreement is signed. In 2013, Colombia was the second-most impacted country in the world in terms of landmine and UXO casualties. In Honduras, where firearms are used in 80 percent of homicides, U.S. CWD funding enabled weapons-cutting activities that will potentially destroy more than 40,000 weapons.

Since 1993, U.S. CWD efforts provided more than $91 million in regional support to Latin American countries, largely focusing on mine clearance and curbing SA/LW trafficking, critical components to creating robust democracies and vibrant economies in the Western Hemisphere.