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Table of Contents
Country Reports
AMERICAS, Landmine Monitor Report 2000
LM Report 2000 Full Report   Executive Summary   Key Findings   Key Developments   Translated Country Reports

Americas Map




Mine Ban Policy

Twenty-six of the thirty-five countries in the Americas region are States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty. In this reporting period (since March 1999), ten nations became States Parties. Eight of those ratified between March and May 1999 (Costa Rica, Dominica, Guatemala, St. Lucia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil, and Antigua and Barbuda), while Argentina did so in September 1999 and the Dominican Republic in June 2000.

There are seven signatories that have not ratified: Chile, Colombia, Guyana, Haiti, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Uruguay. Colombia is in the final stages of the ratification process. Cuba and the United States remain the only two countries in the Americas region that have not signed the Mine Ban Treaty.

Only Canada, Guatemala, and Nicaragua have enacted domestic implementation legislation. Trinidad and Tobago is in the process of passing an implementation bill. México has said that independent legislation is not necessary because international treaties are incorporated into domestic law.

While ten countries have submitted their Article 7 transparency measures reports, fourteen countries are late in submitting their reports: Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, Costa Rica, Dominica, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Jamaica, Panamá, Paraguay, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela.

Twenty-two countries sent delegations to the First Meeting of State Parties in Maputo in May 1999. Cuba was one of twelve observer delegations. The United States attended informally, without even observer status.

Thirty-two of thirty-five countries in the region voted in favor of UN General Assembly resolution 54/54B on 1 December 1999. Ecuador was absent. Cuba and the United States were among the 20 governments that abstained.

Sixteen countries of the region attended at least one meeting of the five Intersessional Standing Committees of Experts, including Cuba and the U.S. Canada has served as co-chair of the SCE on General Status and Operation of the Convention, México as co-chair and Nicaragua as co-rapporteur of the SCE on Victim Assistance, and Perú as co-rapporteur of the SCE on mine clearance.

Countries of the region continued to support Organization of American States (OAS) pro-ban resolutions in 1999. Nine countries of the region signed the “Declaration of San José” on 5 April 2000 that contained a pro-ban element. On 6 June 2000, at the 30th OAS General Assembly held in Windsor, Canada, member states voted in favor of two pro-ban resolutions. At the Grupo de Río meeting held in Colombia in June 2000, nineteen countries of the region signed the “Cartagena Declaration,” which contained a call for ratification of the treaty and increased assistance to victims.

Canada continued to exercise a lead role internationally in promoting universalization and effective implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty. It played a crucial role in the success of the First Meeting of States Parties and the intersessional work program.


Colombia remains the only country in the region where there is evidence that landmines are currently being used. Two rebel groups, the FARC-EP and UC-ELN have used landmines in the past year. The United States reserved the right to use antipersonnel mines during the Kosovo conflict, but never did.

Production and Transfer

It is believed that Cuba continues to produce antipersonnel mines. Cuba continues to state that it does not export AP mines, but has not adopted a formal moratorium or ban. The United States has not produced antipersonnel mines since 1996, but the stockpile cap announced on 17 January 1997 does not preclude the production of new mines. Law has banned the export of antipersonnel mines from the U.S. since 1992. The U.S. spent $21 million on its landmine alternatives program in fiscal year 1999 and expects that to increase to $94 million in fiscal year 2001. The U.S. is pursuing two “alternatives” that would be prohibited under the Mine Ban Treaty.

In November 1999, Colombia’s antipersonnel mine production facilities were destroyed, but it is still producing a Claymore-type directional fragmentation mine. Two of Colombia’s guerrilla groups produce homemade antipersonnel mines.

On 26 April 1999, Chile imposed a unilateral moratorium on the production, export, and new use of antipersonnel mines.

Stockpiling and Destruction

Thirteen countries in the region have stockpiles of antipersonnel mines: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador (271,802), Honduras (9,439), Guyana, Nicaragua (91,813), Perú (334,756), United States (11.2 million), Uruguay (2,338), and Venezuela. A Chilean diplomat told the ICBL that Chile’s stockpile numbered 22,000 and a Colombian government report indicated a stockpile of at least 18,000 AP mines, but Landmine Monitor has not been able to confirm those figures.

Paraguay and Panamá have stated for the first time that they do not have a stockpile of antipersonnel mines. It remains unknown if Suriname has an AP mine stockpile. Canada, El Salvador and Guatemala had previously reported destruction of their AP mine stockpiles.

Canada is retaining 1,668 antipersonnel mines for training and development purposes. Honduras intends to retain 1,050 AP mines, Nicaragua 1,971 AP mines, and Perú 9,526 AP mines. It is expected that the 170,344 figure provided by Ecuador for mines retained for training purposes will be significantly revised at the Second Meeting of States Parties. Uruguay plans to retain only inert mines for training.

Destruction of stockpiles is underway in several countries. Ecuador reports that it destroyed 101,458 antipersonnel mines between April 1999 and March 2000. Nicaragua reports that 40,000 antipersonnel mines have been destroyed as of April 2000. Perú reports that it destroyed 3,916 mines in 1999. Uruguay reports that the destruction of the approximately 2,338 antipersonnel mines in its stockpile is underway. More than 2,000 antipersonnel mines were destroyed from Colombia’s stockpiles. The U.S. finished the destruction of 3.3 million non-self-destructing antipersonnel mines in 1998.

States Parties that have not yet begun destruction include Argentina, Brazil, Honduras, and Venezuela. Honduras has made plans for destruction.

Landmine Problem

Nine countries in the region are known to be mine-affected: Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Perú, as well as the disputed Falkland/Malvinas Islands. There have been no comprehensive Level One Impact Surveys in the region, and none are planned. UNMAS and the OAS conducted independent assessment missions in Ecuador and Perú in August and September 1999.

Information collected by the Campaña Colombiana Contra Minas (CCCM) indicates that at least 135 of Colombia’s 1,050 municipalities in twenty-three of the country’s thirty departments are mine-affected. In Chile it is estimated that there are between 500,000 to one million mines laid along the country’s borders with Argentina, Bolivia and Perú. Ecuador stated that there are more than 90,000 mines on its side of the border with Perú, and the Perúvian government estimated that there are approximately 120,000 mines on its side of the border with Ecuador, along its border with Chile and in areas near critical infrastructure. The Nicaraguan government reported that there were still 81,536 mines planted in 476 sites. In the disputed territory of the Falklands/Malvinas Islands, the U.K. estimated that 16,600 mines remained in November 1999.

Mine Action Funding

From this region, the biggest contributors to mine action globally are the United States ($63.1 million in fiscal year 1999) and Canada ($15 million in fiscal year 1999/2000).

The OAS Assistance Program for Demining in Central America (PADCA) involves mine and UXO clearance programs in Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, and Costa Rica. In 1999 the annual budget for the whole OAS regional demining program was $6 million and in 2000 it was $7.6 million, financed by Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.S. and the U.K. Since July 1999, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Venezuela have contributed personnel to PADCA.

The U.S. will provide about $10.5 million in funding for humanitarian demining programs in Central America, Ecuador, and Perú in its fiscal years 1999 ($4.84 million) and 2000 ($5.64 million). Canada provided about $1.9 million in its fiscal year 1999/2000 for the Americas region for mine clearance, mine awareness, and victim assistance programs in Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Perú. Brazil estimates that it contributes $1 million each year to the OAS MARMINCA program with in-kind contributions and operational costs, including eleven demining experts.

Mine Clearance

Humanitarian mine clearance activities are underway in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Perú. In Nicaragua, by the end of 1999, 1.291 square kilometers of land had been cleared and 54,107 AP mines destroyed from 524 sites; it is expected to complete mine clearance by 2004. The Honduran mine clearance program, which was set back in late 1998 by Hurricane Mitch, is now due to be completed by the end of 2001. In Costa Rica, the suspended mine clearance program has resumed; it is now expected to be completed in 2002. Mine clearance in Ixcán, Guatemala was completed and the demined lands were handed over for the first time to the local communities in January 2000.

Ecuador and Perú have made significant progress in mine clearance along the border. In April 1999, the “Program for Demining Assistance in Ecuador/Perú” was established by the OAS. In September 1999, Ecuador established a National Demining Center. More than 30,000 landmines were cleared and destroyed in 1999 and early 2000 in Perú.

In Chile, on 25 November 1999, the Army released plans for an eleven-year mine clearance program for 293 minefields with 250,000 mines along Chile’s borders. It has begun to demine its border with Bolivia. The Colombian Army cleared 35 minefields, in military operations, in 1999.

The U.S. completed removal of mines from around its Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba in 1999. The U.S. said that it had removed 250 metric tons of debris in the last two years in the Panamá Canal Zone, but noted that it was impossible to remove all the UXO without tearing down the rain forests and threatening the canal’s watershed. Talks have been held between the UK and Argentine governments on the removal of landmines still present in the Falklands/Malvinas.

Mine Awareness

There are mine awareness activities in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Panamá. There apparently are no official programs in Chile and Perú, despite the need. UNICEF and the governments of Colombia and Canada signed an agreement in October 1999 to implement a mine awareness program in Colombia. UNICEF is carrying out the second year of a “Child to Child Prevention In Nicaragua” project in 2000. Mine awareness materials produced by DC Comics and featuring Superman and Wonder Woman continue to be supplied by the U.S. and distributed by the Ministry of Education in Nicaragua. The ICBL, among others, has raised concerns about the cultural appropriateness and technical flaws of these materials.

Mine Casualties

New landmine casualties have been reported in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Perú. Colombia appears to suffer from the greatest number of landmine casualties in the Americas region. The Colombia Campaign identified 63 victims in 1999, and 35 in the first half of 2000. In Nicaragua, the number of victims appears to be declining. The Army reported that there were thirty-one mine casualties in 1999, and five in the first four months of 2000. The Nicaraguan Red Cross has estimated that there were about fifty mine casualties every year in the past.

Survivor Assistance

Governmental assistance to mine survivors in the Americas region is generally of poor quality. In Central and South America, for the most part resources (of varying quality) are available to military and police personnel, but resources for civilian victims are non-existing or inadequate. This situation is compounded by an urban bias in health care resource allocation. Health care facilities and resources are concentrated in urban centers and capital cities, while rural areas – where most landmine victims are found – have minimal health care infrastructure and services available.

On 11 January 1999 in México City, representatives of Canada, México and the Pan-American Health Organization signed a Memorandum of Understanding on a Joint Program for the Rehabilitation of Mine Victims in Central America. The initiative includes a comprehensive effort by the Pan-American Health Organization, which is being financed by an initial grant of CDN$3.5 million to assess the needs of war victims and to begin to address those needs in El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. According the Pan-American Health Organization, the program in each country will unfold in four stages: assessing the number of victims; assessing individual’s specific prosthetics and rehabilitation needs; providing for treatment and rehabilitation; and promoting victims re-incorporation into the workforce.