The Organization of American
States (OAS) held a demonstration in Guatemala City, Guatemala,
of a new tool for the destruction of obsolete weapons and
ammunition in the region, one that will travel through Central
America to Costa Rica to be used in the elimination of 700,000
rounds of ammunition at the end of 2011.
This model, which originated in North America and is called
“Semáforo” (Spanish acronym for System for the Elimination of
Ammunition and Firearms in the Region), has the capability of
daily destroying 300 firearms of various sizes and tens of
thousands of rounds of ammunition. The system has been used in
other parts of the world and is being offered for the first time
to countries in Central America.
One of its novel characteristics is its mobility, which allows
it to be transported on a trailer, crossing borders to bring
assistance to different countries. Also, it can safely destroy
ammunition, explosives, pyrotechnic devices and even bombs of up
to 500 pounds in weight.
The demonstration by OAS technicians, attended by officials and
representatives from El Salvador, Costa Rica, the Dominican
Republic, Guatemala, Panama, Colombia, and Mexico, is the
culmination of a training workshop held from Wednesday, January
26, to Friday the 28th, 2011, in Guatemala City, with the
technical support of the OAS Department of Public Security and
the OAS Office of Humanitarian Mine Action. The activity
provided a framework for sharing best practices and identifying
successful measures to ensure the appropriate management of
This initiative was conducted in the framework of the
Inter-American Convention against Illicit Manufacturing of and
Trafficking in Firearms (CIFTA), through which the OAS promotes
the adequate handling of national arsenals and the effective
management and destruction of obsolete ammunition in poor state.