Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Mexican Defense Ministry Implicated in Illegal Arms Sales



According to reports in German and Mexican news media, Mexico’s Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional (Secretariat of National Defense—SEDENA) has been implicated in the illegal sale of German arms in the Mexican state of Guerrero, in cooperation with a representative from German arms manufacturer Heckler & Koch.

Guerrero is one of four Mexican states to which the German government forbids the sale of arms, due to the determination that the weapons could be used to perpetrate human rights violations.  Reports of illegal arms sales by Heckler & Koch to Guerrero and other embargoed Mexican states have circulated in Germany since 2010, and the company admitted in 2013  that it had illegally sold thousands of weapons in Mexico.

Heckler & Koch G36 assault rifles were reportedly among the arms seized in the aftermath of an attack on student teachers in the Mexican state of Guerrero last September. Mexican Foreign Minister José Antonio Meade neither confirmed nor denied that German arms were found in Iguala.

The accusations against SEDENA were first reported by the German daily Taz, and were later picked up by the Mexican news site sinembargo.mx. According to these reports, a letter from Germany’s Bundeswirtschaftsministeriums (Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy—BMWi) to German green party parliamentarian Hans-Christian Ströbele alleges that defense ministry officials provided false information about the final destination of arms shipments in export documents.

“Mexico has violated the political principles of the federal German government with regard to the exportation of military weaponry and equipment,” said Ströbele.

Mexican officials have yet to respond to the accusation.

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