CENTRAL AMERICA: ARMS TRAFFICKING - QUANTITY AND TYPES OF ARMS - DELIVERY ROUTE

Created: 11/21/1980

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hhipmentamrl*ty of unarn* endrifle*,withAmmunition And other TM.it, .end flellln, andft* ouarrllmut obsolete orent1 and handgun* *r* no doubt shipped a* well, ili--are paylng up0 for an auto-Mtle rtryn bnena* much anper delivery flight, though the uaua! price Ia Apparently halfr Iaa*.

heavler or morengiy talked of hut hAveun toup in combat In Any notice-Able quantity. the fleet antltanvAde varelonlovletnot capturnd from the giierrlllfla in rt rlelvador until mid-augunt, foralthough alncernoketa hAvedumbnr of acatterad AAAAultfl, including the attack on the ufl rnhAAay in lin flelvidorept"mbor.

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certain tr*fflcklngofand* treeedonerAl wsy. theone eitherr pa**o* through fo*ta alee, where pArtiolpAtlon inIa of the trafficking by many offlolal* and privaterimarilyell documented, arrengerient* canbe nudelly for the purchase and delivery of virtually any eArgo to any doatlnatlon,only that #the price la right.*

xnfnramtton which* conclusive then that onroute* ntronglyoven*nt*teno* of other aupply andthat meke me of hlcaregua, ronduran,mentoo, unlng much the *Ame land, *ee, *nd *lran the commercialnd even menyonduit* are more . i

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the rouroe* of th* materiel ar* equally diver**. th* bulkar* to hav* oome fromt over from the civil war ln nicaragua, anywhereenth to a

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of th* many ton" of arms consigned to tho Sandin-letasre estimated to have baan withheld by ranamanlan and Costa Mean middlemen for subsequent reeela. The munitions with Venezuelan markings aboard the plane that craahed In June apparently came froei thea* stocks.

Additional artie have been purchased on the illegal International market, but these transactions are even more difficult to traceomplete putchaae-to-dalivery cycle. This clandestine trade appnnre to haveand smoothly functioning networka. Arrangements are obacuted by eittenetve covemp efforta, however, to those need in the narcoticshich may crten overlap with ansa trafficking.

M'mt of the smuggling so far eeema to hove stemmed from purchaaee made by the guerrillas themselves, using funds obtained from ranaoma, robberies, and foreign dona-Mone. Thei* >taowever,mall but growing proportion of the arme le being provided directly by ievolutionsy sympathizers around the world.

Involvement

The Cubans, working mostly through local sympathisers or metcenarlea, seem to be behind moat oT this effort In one way or another. In addition to purchasing arma on the Illegal market or shipping them from its own supplies, Havana alao apparently expedites materiel sent by tha USSR. Esstern Europe, the PLO, and possibly others. Recent reportsrowing interest on the part of these "outsiders" in providing funds, arms, and other support to various central American revolutionary groups.

The precise extent of Nlcaraguan involvement terrains unknown. The Cubana--and possibly the Soviets as well-have introducsd suable ahlpmenta of weapons intohowever, and some of this reportedly has beento Ealvadoran and other insurgents. Although witting of theae Cuban activities, the Ssndlnlstss have probably furnished only symbolic quantities of ansaand aeem constrained to avoid more open involve*

Outlook

On the whole, although regional arm* traffickingto be rising slowly, the variety of routes andand especially the intermittent nature of theuggest, that It isimited andoperation. The various governments Involved,lack either the capability or the will to stop the flow--or Indeed are actually bent on lncreaalng it. ontinuation of political unrest ln the region, arms smuggling will certainly peraiat at least at preaentand could essily and quicklyharp increase at any tine.

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