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OAS Certifies Destruction of Over 21,000 Firearms in Costa Rica in Presence of President Chinchilla

  March 26, 2014

The Organization of American States (OAS) and the Government of Costa Rica today completed the destruction of 21,318 firearms under the Program of Assistance for the Control of Arms and Munitions (PACAM) of the Department of Public Security (DPS) of the hemispheric institution during a ceremony presided by President Laura Chinchilla.

The final phase of the destruction was carried out at the National Arsenal of the Ministry of Public Security in Coronado, San José de Costa Rica, during a ceremony that was attended by the President of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla; the Minister of Public Security of Costa Rica, Mario Zamora Cordero; and the General Coordinator of the PACAM, Carl Case.

President Chinchilla underscored the importance of the program for her country. "At a time when we are winning the battle against crime, Costa Ricans can leave guns behind," she said. "We hope that this successful policy on the fight against violence will be sustainable over time. Its success is due to the outstanding police work and institutions coordination, as well as to policies on the prevention of violence," she added.

The OAS/DPS PACAM, whose purpose is to empower governments of the region in the prevention and eradication of illicit trafficking in firearms, has supported the Government of Costa Rica in this area for several cycles. In the context of this cooperation, the Costa Rican authorities have destroyed 32,238 weapons and around 900,000 small-caliber ammunition that had been seized and used in various crimes.

The weapons destruction program in Costa Rica is the largest implemented in Central America with the support of the OAS. Since 2007, the OAS PACAM has provided support to the Central American countries and to Colombia with the destruction of 57,000 firearms and nearly 6.6 million units of ammunition. The initiative receives financial support from the United States, Canada, Spain, and Italy.

The PACAM has a Mobile System that can destroy 350 weapons and 100,000 rounds of ammunition daily, as well as technical staff specialized in knowledge sharing in order to strengthen the national capacities of the countries in the region. PACAM technicians have trained 553 officials from 12 OAS member states in the destruction of firearms, and procedures for stockpile management and destruction of ammunition.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-109/14