Recording: Weapons in Latin America: Conflict, Crime and (In)Security

Exploring the production, trade, transfer and use of weapons and firearms in Latin America and how this influences the dynamics of peace and conflict in the region.

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Latin America is one of the world’s most violent regions; in 2019, all 10 countries with the highest rates of gun homicide deaths were in Latin America and the Caribbean. Much of this violence is related to the high levels of other criminality in the region and the prevalence of organised crime groups. It is also linked to the proliferation of conventional and small arms, driven by established weapons trafficking networks, many of which flow from the US.

Although privately owned and unregistered firearms comprise the majority of those circulating in the region, the legal weapons industry has also contributed to cycles of violence. US military support to Colombia to combat the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas and drug trafficking has been linked to corruption and human rights violations. Mexico’s cartels are sourcing weapons that once belonged to national armed forces and from markets in Central America. The rising number of weapons in the region require a more meaningful debate on transparency in military spending and arms acquisitions, and the cascading effects on armed violence in urban and rural settings.

The event will be moderated by Dr Carlos Solar, Senior Research Fellow, International Security Studies, RUSI.


  • Dr Diego Lopes da Silva, Senior Researcher – Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Sweden.
  • Dr Carlos A Pérez-Ricart, Assistant Professor, Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE), Mexico.
  • Dr Pilar Lizana, Researcher, AthenaLab, Chile.
  • Discussant: Genevieve Kotarska, Research Analyst, Organised Crime and Policing, RUSI.


Genevieve Kotarska

Associate Fellow | SHOC Network Member - Researcher

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Dr Carlos Solar

Senior Research Fellow, Latin American Security

International Security

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