Guatemala Offers Gifts for Arms

July 16, 2004

GUATEMALA CITY (AFP) – GuatemalanPresident Oscar Berger this week officiallykicked off a national disarmamentcampaign that aims to collect illegal firearmsin an effort to reduce violent crime, which hasclaimed almost 2,000 lives so far this year.The collection/amnesty program offersincentives for people who turn in multipleillegal weapons, including items such asbicycles, sewing machines, bags of cementand zinc sheeting for construction.“With the launching of this program weare sending a message to the nation thatunited we can all move forward and stopthese high indicators of violence that areaffecting us,” said Berger, who was accompaniedat the event by government leaders,school children and Maya icon RigobertaMenchú, 1992 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.THE week before launching “TheNational Disarmament Program,” Bergerlamented in a local press interview that hisgovernment has had a difficult time curbingthe recent wave of violence (TT, July 9).The disarmament program also mayinclude the destruction of the 28,000decommissioned guns already in the government’spossession, and could contemplatea bill to stiffen sanctions against thosewho carry un-licensed arms, according togovernment sources.In Guatemala, 250,000 guns of variouscalibers registered with the government arein citizens’ hands, along with an estimated1.8 million unregistered weapons, accordingto Minister of the Interior Arturo Soto.Soto said at least 1,950 have died inGuatemala this year because of violentcrimes, including 779 in the capital city.Concluding the ceremony, dozens ofGuatemalan children turned in toy guns inexchange for roses in a symbolic act callingfor a new culture of peace.

Facebook Comments

You may be interested

A pilgrimage for a saint: El Salvador mourns
Central America
506 views
Central America
506 views

A pilgrimage for a saint: El Salvador mourns

AFP - March 25, 2019

Hundreds of Salvadorans paid tribute this weekend to their first saint, San Salvador Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, murdered 39 years…

News
342 views

The Tico Times Weekly Digest: March 25, 2019

Alexander Villegas - March 25, 2019

An indigenous land rights leader was murdered in his home, four cases of measles detected in Costa Rica and La…

Costa Rica Treatment Center tackles addiction differently
Costa Rica
706 views
Costa Rica
706 views

Costa Rica Treatment Center tackles addiction differently

The Tico Times - March 25, 2019

Costa Rica Treatment Center tackles addiction differently. While most drug and alcohol rehab centers shelter their clients from external stimuli,…