William Godnik, coordinator of the United Nations Regional Center for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, praised initiatives by the Venezuelan government to guarantee peace through disarmament efforts.
“There are several disarmament commissions in different countries in the region, but none of them have the human and economic investment as Venezuela’s,” Godnik said during a televised interview last week.
Godnik highlighted the work being done by Venezuelan attorneys and other professionals to achieve arms control and citizen security.
The UN representative visited the Venezuelan capital city of Caracas to participate in the International Seminar on Arms and Munitions Control and Disarmament, held last Thursday and Friday. The event allowed for an exchange of international experiences regarding disarmament policy to help strengthen Venezuela’s Presidential Commission for Weapons Control and Disarmament.
“The Venezuelan government has made an impressive investment in this issue, which is proportionate to its needs,” Godnik said.
A Law on Disarmament and the Control of Weapons and Munitions is currently being discussed by lawmakers in the National Assembly.
President Chávez Urges to Reduce Number of Weapons Hold by Civilian Population
“The number of weapons in the hands of the civilian population must be reduced to the minimum needed,” said President Hugo Chávez on Sunday, speaking about his administration’s efforts to reduce violence.
“I invite the population: let’s disarm ourselves. A lot of people have a firearm and don’t even have any training. The less firearms we have, the better. Now, the state will work to disarm those who are criminals,” Chávez said during his weekly program, Aló Presidente.
“Out of the 638 million weapons that circulate in 110 countries, 74 percent are held by the civilian population. Just 3 percent are held by police officers and 23 percent by the armed forces,” he informed.
“We have to stress preventive action as well as punitive action when necessary. We have to continue purging and strengthening the police departments because they were infiltrated by delinquency during that disastrous decentralization strategy,” the Venezuelan leader said.
For his part, Minister of the Interior and Justice Tareck El Aissami said: “in Venezuela, 78 percent of homicides are linked to the use of firearms. That’s why we decided to creat the Presidential Commission for Weapons and Munitions Control and Disarmament.”
Presidential Press Office / Press Office – Venezuelan Embassy to the U.S. / January 29, 2012