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Citing a excessive stage of gun violence throughout the hemisphere, two prime Democrats on the Home Overseas Affairs Committee and the chairman of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee are calling for a federal investigation into the illicit trafficking of firearms coming from the USA into the Caribbean.

On Monday, the three lawmakers despatched a letter to the U.S. Authorities Accountability Workplace, Congress’ investigative arm, asking for it to take a look at the results of firearms trafficked from the U.S. to the Caribbean. The letter was signed by U.S. Rep. Gregory W. Meeks of New York, a rating member of the Home Overseas Affairs Committee; Texas U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, a rating member of the Home Overseas Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. and Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee. They famous that their places of work have requested comparable reviews up to now centered on Mexico and Central America.

“This new request, centered on the Caribbean, will permit us to acquire a extra sturdy image of the general affect of the illicit trafficking and use of lethal weapons and munitions within the area,” the lawmakers stated, including additionally they wish to know what extra will be performed to curtail the circulate of weapons.

Amongst what they’re asking of the GAO: A rustic-by-country breakdown of the quantity and kinds of U.S. arms being trafficked to Caribbean nations, excluding Cuba, and whether or not the quantity is rising yearly; data on the place and the way illicit weapons are being obtained within the U.S. in addition to how they’re being smuggled into their last locations; and measures being taken by U.S. and Caribbean legislation enforcement to deal with the issue. Additionally they wish to know what laws may help the efforts of U.S. authorities to fight arms trafficking.

READ MORE: How U.S. gun laws and South Florida ports help fuel Haiti’s escalating gang violence

The U.S. lawmakers stated that they’re significantly involved concerning the results of illicit U.S. firearms on the safety scenario in Haiti, which is seeing unprecedented ranges of violence and kidnappings by closely armed gangs. They famous that in a listening to final fall earlier than the Home Committee on Overseas Affairs titled Haiti on the Crossroads: Civil Society Responses for a Haitian-led Resolution, each activists and supporters alleged that “the U.S. was the principal supply of weapons being utilized by felony gangs, who’re destabilizing the nation, stopping the supply of fundamental authorities providers, thwarting the distribution of humanitarian help, rising ranges of lethal violence, and inflicting an ever-increasing variety of Haitians to lose hope and flee the nation.”

Two reviews revealed by Haiti-based organizations present the attain of violent gangs in Haiti society. On Monday, the Group for Residents for a New Haiti stated that gang violence had led to the deaths of at the very least 195 individuals, nearly all of them within the metropolitan space of Port-au-Prince in March.

One other report issued Tuesday by the Heart for Evaluation and Analysis in Human Rights in Port-au-Prince, which tracks kidnappings, stated that 389 kidnappings had been recorded for the primary quarter of this yr, which when in comparison with the identical interval final yr and in 2021 is a 72% and 173% enhance, respectively. The quantity contains 29 overseas nationals representing three nations, together with a Haitian-American couple from Tamarac kidnapped greater than two weeks in the past.

“Haiti doesn’t stand alone as a Caribbean nation being destabilized by the inflow of illicit American firearms,” the lawmakers wrote. “The United Nations Workplace of Medicine and Crime’s International Research on Firearms Trafficking 2020 evaluated firearms trafficking seizure ranges in seven Caribbean nations in 2016 and 2017. The research discovered that between 2,000 and three,000 firearms had been seized every year, with Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and the Bahamas accounting for many of those seizures.”

They’ve additionally taken be aware of different reviews together with one other from the United Nations that states that firearms are concerned in 70% of the Caribbean’s homicides, in comparison with 30% on the world stage. The U.N.’s Office for Disarmament Affairs additionally famous that Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, the Dominican Republic and Haiti, which all have excessive numbers of illicit firearms trafficking, even have excessive or rising charges of violent crimes and homicides.

Lawmakers’ request for a GAO investigation comes on the heels of a choice final month by The Bahamas, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago to provide support to Mexico in a civil lawsuit it has filed against U.S. gun manufacturers. The go well with, was is being appealed after it was dismissed by a federal choose, argues that the advertising and marketing and distribution practices of a number of well-known firearms manufacturers are facilitating the trafficking for arms in Mexico and fueling highly effective drug cartels.

Caribbean nations of their “buddy of the court docket” transient earlier than the First U.S. Court docket of Appeals in Boston argue that the U.S.-made weapons illegally trafficked throughout the borders, a lot of them from South Florida’s ports, are additionally facilitating crime waves of their tiny nations.

The U.S. Commerce Division’s Bureau of Trade and Safety, which collaborates with different federal businesses, together with Homeland Safety Investigations, instructed the Miami Herald late final yr that since 2020 about half of all firearms-export investigations have been concentrated in the Caribbean region — a prime smuggling vacation spot fueled by the demand of drug traffickers and large black-market markups on U.S.-made weapons. The opposite 50% are scattered all through the world.

By Maggi

"Greetings! I am a media graduate with a diverse background in the news industry. From working as a reporter to producing content, I have a well-rounded understanding of the field and a drive to stay at the forefront of the industry." When I'm not writing content, I'm Playing and enjoying with my Kids.

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