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In 2021, U.S. conventional weapons destruction (CWD) assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean made it more difficult for drug traffickers, criminal gangs, and terrorists to obtain weapons from poorly-secured stockpiles and bolstered the integrity of the U.S. southern border.  The United States currently supports physical security and stockpile management initiatives in Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Peru.  The United States also provided humanitarian demining assistance to Colombia, which remains the most landmine-contaminated country in the Americas.  Explosive hazards continue to threaten Colombians, making it difficult for families to safely return to their homes and disrupting the restoration of local economies.  In 2016, the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (also known as the FARC) signed a peace accord, enabling an increase in demining operations in previously inaccessible locations.  The United States, in coordination with the Government of Colombia and other donors, continues to support the clearance of Colombia’s remaining contamination and the return of land to productive use.

Since 1993, the U.S. CWD program has invested more than $259 million in Latin America and the Caribbean to strengthen civilian safety by disrupting the diversion and illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons, destroying excess and obsolete munitions, clearing contaminated land to enable economic development, and providing explosive ordnance risk education to prevent civilian injuries.

Through U.S. support, our implementing partners accomplished the following in 2021:

  • 271,440 square meters (67 acres) of land was released for safe and productive use in Colombia
  • 5,138 individuals received explosive ordnance risk education in Colombia
  • 232,796 pieces of small arms ammunition were destroyed in Ecuador
  • 61 metric tons of munitions were destroyed in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Peru
  • 86 security forces personnel were trained in El Salvador and Guatemala

The United States is the world’s single largest financial supporter of efforts to clear landmines and explosive remnants of war.  Since 1993, the United States has invested more than $4.2 billion in more than 100 countries around the world to reduce the harmful worldwide effects of at-risk, illicitly proliferated, and indiscriminately used conventional weapons of war.  For more information on U.S. humanitarian demining and CWD programs, see the latest edition of our annual report, To Walk the Earth in Safety.

For additional information or to request a printed copy of To Walk the Earth in Safety, please contact the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs, at pm-cpa@state.gov, and follow us on Twitter @StateDeptPM.  The report is also available on the Department of State website at https://www.state.gov/to-walk-the-earth-in-safety/.

U.S. Department of State

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