The people of Guatemala endured more than 36 years of internal conflict, which ended with the signing of the Peace Accords at the end of 1996. Now, over two decades later, it has one of the highest homicide rates in the world, with an average of 101 murders per week reported in 2018. Crime is fuelled by an increase in drug trafficking and gang-related violence, combined with a heavily armed civilian population. Like other Central American countries, arms trafficking remains an issue.
The large number of weapons in circulation has had a devastating effect on local communities, causing deaths and forcing families to flee their homes across the region into the United States and Mexico.
HALO is working with the armed forces and police in Guatemala to provide support destroying obsolete and confiscated weapons and ammunition. With funding from the United States Government, our aim is to upgrade and restore weapons and ammunition stores, to improve gun control and prevent unplanned explosions.
We have also been researching how, by working with local communities, we can reduce armed violence and help tackle the humanitarian crisis in the region that results from easy access to weapons.
Captain Robin Leonardo Ajcalon Guoz
Captain Robin Leonardo Ajcalon Guoz has served in the Guatemalan Army for fourteen years. He knows first-hand the dangers of badly stored ammunition after witnessing the explosion of a military store in 2005. With 17 of his colleagues, he completed his Level One training in explosive ordnance disposal with HALO.