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MEXICO, Landmine Monitor Report 1999


Mine Ban Policy

Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Angel Gurría, signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997. As noted by the Foreign Relations Secretariat (SRE) Director General for the United Nations Minister Luis Alfonso De Alba, “Mexico has been one of the main promoters, along with Canada and other nations, of the Ottawa Convention.”[1] Mexico was a member of the Core Group of nations which led the Ottawa Process. It was one of the first nations in the world to call for a total ban on antipersonnel landmines and has been a diplomatic leader on the landmine issue since the negotiations for the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW).

Mexico ratified the ban treaty on 9 June 1998, the seventeenth country to do so. During the Mexican Senate’s debate on ratification, Senator Jorge Alfonso Calderón Salazar said the government "shall undertake vigorous diplomatic actions to...promote the implementation of this instrument, its ratification by legislatures and further realizations of positive actions."[2]

Mexico has not enacted implementing legislation for the Mine Ban Treaty. But, it is important to note that once the Mine Ban Treaty was promulgated and published in the Official Federal Gazette (Diaro Oficial de la Federación) on 21 August 1998, it became a part of domestic law.[3]

The Mexican Permanent Mission to the Organization of American States (OAS), on 7 February 1997, issued a "Declaration of Principles of the Government of Mexico on the Production, Exportation and Use of Antipersonnel Landmines," which detailed the steps taken by Mexico in regional and multilateral fora toward banning antipersonnel mines and which declared the use of antipersonnel mines a violation of international humanitarian law.[4] Mexico has played a leading role on this issue globally and in the Western Hemisphere. It has supported, by consensus, key resolutions of the Organization of American States on landmines. Mexico is one of the few OAS members that has submitted data to the OAS Antipersonnel Landmines Registry. In January 1999, Mexico and Canada, with the support of the OAS and the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), convened the first Regional Seminar on Antipersonnel Landmines in Mexico City on 11-12 January 1999.

While Mexico ratified the CCW and its original Protocol II on landmines in 1982, it has not yet ratified the 1996 amended Protocol II. According to a Foreign Ministry official, Mexico does not expect to ratify amended Protocol II as it views it as being surpassed by the Mine Ban Treaty and too limited in comparison with the ban treaty.[5]

Mexico is a member of the Conference on Disarmament but does not support, and in some instances has blocked, any effort to launch negotiations on a transfer ban in this forum.[6] Mexican officials have stated their opposition to any measures that might undermine the comprehensive ban embodied in the Mine Ban Treaty.

Production, Transfer, Stockpiling

The government states that it does not use, produce, stockpile or transfer antipersonnel landmines, and has never possessed mines. The February 1997 Declaration of Principles stated that “the Government of Mexico neither manufactures nor imports antipersonnel landmines and maintains a strict and constant vigilance over the enterprises of Mexican corporations that utilize explosive materials and does not grant any permissions for the manufacture of antipersonnel landmines.” The Declaration of Principles also explicitly stated that there is no production, nor licensing for production, of antipersonnel mines in Mexico and no import.[7]

Additionally, a Press Bulletin issued by the SRE states that “Mexico was the first country in Latin America to declare that it does not produce or import antipersonnel landmines. In 1997, the OAS recognized Mexico as a landmine-free territory.”[8]


There is no evidence of use of antipersonnel mines in Mexico. During the Antipersonnel Landmines Regional Seminar, hosted in Mexico City on 11-12 January 1999, Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Rosario Green Macias declared that Mexico had never used landmines and that Mexico would not do so in the future, not in the State of Chiapas nor elsewhere in the country. If others have done so, "We would find them and expose them," Green Macias said.[9]

In the past, a U.S. State Department report and a few media articles alleged mine use by rebel forces in Chiapas, and mine use by drug traffickers in Sinaloa, Chihuahua and Sonora.[10] In response to questions on this matter, Foreign Relations Secretary Rosario Green Macías stated in an interview that “there is no evidence to prove an opinion of that nature, I assure you that the Mexican government is not involved at all.” Green stated that if there were individuals responsible for the use of landmines in Mexico, "we would exhibit them because Mexico repudiates and opposes this type of devices."[11] Also on this matter, Mexico’s Permanent Representative to the OAS, Ambassador Claude Heller said, “We also know that there has not been any incidents in Chiapas resulting from a landmine explosion.”[12]

Allegations of mine use in Chiapas appeared on 11 October 1994 in the El Norte newspaper, in a letter to the editor signed by Daniel Pensamiento, which said "...the Zapatista Army for National Liberation [EZLN] determined to break the dialogue with the Mexican Government and proceeded to mine all terrestrial accesses...on the rebel territory.”[13] Another letter from Pensamiento, dated 10 February 1995, stated that “EZLN First Captain Lucio, informed that the armed group decreed a state of alert and initiated the works for reinstalling mines on the accesses to the jungle to avoid a possible night incursion of the Mexican army.”[14]

In a telephone interview, Head of Correspondents for the Proceso magazine, Mr. Salvador Corro, said that the letters "may have been a figurative declaration” and added that “there is no evidence of any antipersonnel mine incidents or antipersonnel mine-related casualties in Chiapas."[15]

Mine Action

While Mexico is not mine-affected, and there are no known mine casualties in Mexico, according Minister Luis Alfonso De Alba, “Mexico was the main promoter of the initiative which ended with the signature of the ‘Memorandum of Understanding on a Joint-Program for Rehabilitation of Victims of Landmines in Central America,’ between Mexico, Canada and the Pan-American Health Organization” at the Regional Seminar on Antipersonnel Landmines in January 1999.[16]

Mexico has not contributed to the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Clearance, and is not known to have contributed bilaterally to mine clearance operations in affected nations.


[1]Letter dated 3 February 1999 from Minister Luis Alfonso De Alba, SRE´s General Director for the United Nations to Claudio Torres Nachón, Landmine Monitor researcher, Document Number: DNU-1202990, p.1.

[2]Diario de los Debates de la Cámara de Senadores del Congreso de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos, AÑO 1, Segundo Período Ordinario, LVII Legislatura, NUM.9, p.12.

[3]Diario Oficial de la Federación, 21 August 1998, p.2-9.

[4]"Declaración de Principios del Gobierno de México sobre la Producción, Exportación y Uso de Minas Terrestres Antipersonales," Misión Permante de México ante la OEA. CP02954.S, México, D.F. a 7 de Febrero de 1997.

[5] Telephone Interview with Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Mexico City, Mexico, 23 March 1999.

[6] See for example, Reuters (Geneva), “Mexico blocks conclave on world land-mine ban,” 12 June 1997.

[7]Declaration of Principles, 7 February 1997.

[8]"Establecen Compromisos los Paises Americanos para Erradicar las Minas Antipersonales en la Región" (Countries from the Americas Establish Compromises to Eradicate Antipersonnel Landmines in the Region),Press Communique: B-012, Secretariat of Foreign Relations, Tlatelolco, D.F., 12 January 1999.

[9]Mónica Martín, "México Nunca ha Usado ni Fabricado Minas Terrestres: Rosario Green Macías (México has Never Used or Produced Landmines: Rosario Green Macías)," Excelsior Newspaper, 13 January 1999.

[10] U.S. Department of State, Hidden Killers: The Global Landmine Crisis, December 1994, p. 23.

[11]Isidro Chávez, "Acuerdan Redoblar Esfuerzos contra Minas Antipersonales (Announcement to Double Efforts against Antipersonnel Landmines)," Novedades Newspaper, 13 January 1999.

[12]José Luis Ruiz, "Rechazan que haya Areas ´sembradas’ con Minas Antipersonales en Chiapas (Rejection to the Version of Existing Antipersonnel Landmines Seeded Areas in Chiapas)," El Universal Newspaper, 13 January 1999.

[13]Daniel Pensamiento, "Rompe EZLN Diálogo. Pone Grupo Rebelde Minas a Accesos a su Territorio y Coloca Unidades ntiaéreas," El Norte-Chiapas Newspaper, 11 October 1994.

[14]Daniel Pensamiento, "Se Prepara PGR para Ejecutar Ordenes (PGR Prepares to Execute Orders)," Reforma Newspaper, 10 February 1995.

[15]Telephone Interview with Salvador Corro, Head of Correspondents for PROCESO Magazine, 24 February 1999.

[16]Letter from Ministro De Alba, p.3.