By Kim R. Cragin, Bruce Hoffman
Identifies the assets and routes utilized by arm traffickers to shop for, promote, transfer,and send guns and the implication of small fingers trafficking styles for U.S. coverage.
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Additional resources for Arms Trafficking and Colombia
69Rivers are considered “land” routes versus sea routes in this report, primarily because the geographic characteristics and logistical requirements for river route smuggling are more similar to land route smuggling than sea route smuggling. 70 Although it is difficult to directly link the smuggling of arms across Brazil’s border to one insurgent group, previous fighting plus proximity to the DMZ indicate that the Brazilian-Colombian border is primarily a FARC trafficking route. 71 Neighboring Countries’ Sea and Air Routes Weapons shipments that come into Colombia by sea and air are grouped together in larger bundles than those that are transported by surface routes.
4 Most of these routes involve small waterways through swamps or paths alongside the Amazon jungle or Darien Gap. Speedboats also regularly bring weapons into Colombia from coves along the Panamanian coast. 5 The vessel was carrying 25 rifles, one machine gun, two submachine guns, one carbine, one rocket, several antitank grenades, and 40,000 rounds of ______________ 3Author interviews, Colombian security officials, Bogotá, June 2000; “El Tráfico De Armas En Bogotá,” El Espectador, February 7, 2000.
Of course, these security forces are significant players in the ongoing conflict. But citizens have behaved as if the Colombian military and police cannot protect them. In the past, only campesinos and wealthy landowners compensated for their lack of protection by acquiescing to demands from insurgents or by obtaining weapons to use themselves. But now, this phenomenon has spread to Colombia’s cities and affected its middle class. So, while small arms have always been a part of the political conflict, in recent years the situation has intensified and taken on all the characteristics of an arms race.
Arms Trafficking and Colombia by Kim R. Cragin, Bruce Hoffman