Economic crises in Venezuela may propel that country to the position of one of the Caribbean’s largest supplier of illegal guns and ammunition, along with Haiti and the United States of America, says Anthony Clayton, professor of Caribbean sustainable development at the Univer-sity of the West Indies.
“It is not just the (illegal gun) trade with Haiti or the import of weapons from the United States. There is going to be a third major source of supply into the Caribbean region and that is Venezuela,” Clayton told The Gleaner yesterday.
Clayton said that Venezuela has more guns per person than any country in the Western Hemisphere, a deliberate move by former President Hugo Ch·vez.
Now that the economy is suffering immensely, those arms are being sold rapidly to facilitate basic survival.
“The problem we are facing is, because with Venezuela’s economic collapse, there is now evidence of weapons flooding out of Venezuela, initially into Trinidad, but which will come percolating through the Caribbean. Venezuela has got more guns per person than almost any other country in the (western) hemisphere, including the United States.”
“This is partly due to former President Ch·vez’s policy of arming the militias. Now, with the economy collapsing, a lot of them are selling their weapons and they are selling them for groceries, pharmaceuticals and basic survival items,” Clayton said.