The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today presided at a ceremony in the gardens of this hemispheric organization to support the project "Palas por Pistolas" (shovels for pistols), promoted by the Mexican artist Pedro Reyes, who seeks to use the metal from the confiscated firearms of organized crime to make shovels to plant trees.
Secretary General Insulza welcomed Reyes’ initiative and highlighted the connection of this cultural activity with "a policy of top priority for the Organization of American States, which is combating the illicit trafficking of firearms." In this regard, he noted that the OAS promoted the adoption of the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing and Trafficking of Firearms (CIFTA) in 1977. He recalled that the organization also works with the Program of Assistance for Control of Arms and Munitions in Central America (PACAM), which since 2006 has supported the destruction of more than 3,600 firearms, 1,600 tons of ammunition of various caliber, 660,000 cartridges and 8,000 grenades.
The OAS leader said the concept of "Palas por Pistolas” by artist Pedro Reyes "is a good example of art that transcends and disseminates the values of civic cultural activity."
For his part, the Chair of the Permanent Council and Permanent Representative of Mexico, Joel Hernández, highlighted the work done by the organization in combating this scourge, which constitutes "a tremendous challenge, starting with the homicides committed using small or light weapons” in the hemisphere. The initiative by Pedro Reyes, he said, is a "symbol of peace."
Jeff Abramson, Director of the NGO "Control Arms" which promotes the control of the arms trafficking, highlighted the recognition that the OAS receives globally with the application of CIFTA, but called for more efforts from all institutions because, he recalled, each year around the world "more than 500,000 people die of murders committed with firearms."
A gallery of photos of the event is available here.
The video of the event is available here.
For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.