Latin America Responds To U.S. Mass Shootings


Multiple Latin American countries have begun to take action in response to the two mass shootings that claimed the lives of at least 31 people this past weekend. 

According to CNN, Venezuela and Uruguay both issued travel warnings to their citizens this past Monday as a result of the shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. NBC News reports that Mexico’ Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, has  promised that Mexico City will take action against what he called a “terrorist act against innocent Mexicans.”  Indeed, at least eight of the 22 people killed in the El Paso shooting were Mexican citizens, as well as six of the injured survivors. Two days after the two countries issued their own travel warnings, Amnesty International released their own warning based on the “ubiquity of firearms” in the United States according to a report by USA Today. 

CBS News reports that 22 people were killed and 24 more were injured when a lone gunman entered a Walmart within a shopping mall in El Paso, Texas, that was frequented by many Mexican citizens due to its proximity to the border. The shooter drove 11 hours from his home in Allen, Texas, which has a Hispanic or Latino population of 11%, to El Paso, where the Hispanic or Latino population is 83%,  to carry out the heinous act of violence and later told police that he was specifically targeting Mexicans. He has been charged with capital murder and the shooting is being investigated as a hate crime. Less than 15 hours after the attack in El Paso, another mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, killed nine and injured 27 in a mere thirty seconds. ABC News reports that the attack took place in a part of the town popular for bars and restaurants. Both shooters obtained their assault-rifle-style weapons legally. Both shooters were also white men.

“We consider this to be an act of terror, obviously in U.S. territory, but against Mexican citizens,” Ebrard said in a video posted to Twitter.  “The president has instructed me to ensure that Mexico’s indignation translates into … efficient, prompt, expeditious and forceful legal actions for Mexico to take a role and demand that conditions are established that protect … Mexicans in the United States.”

Venezuela’s statement regarding their travel warning contained more direct criticism of U.S. leadership, the statement read: “These increasing acts of violence have found an echo and support in the conversations and actions impregnated by racial discrimination and hatred against migrant populations, pronounced and executed by the supremacist elite who holds political power in Washington.” All of the official statements by Uruguay, Venezuela and Amnesty International condemned the concentration of firearms in the United States as a reason to be concerned and advised against travelling into the U.S. According to USA Today, U.S. President Donald Trump responded to the travel warnings, saying, “If they did that, we would reciprocate.”  

As former U.S. President Barack Obama noted in a statement on Twitter this week, the U.S. is the only nation in the world that experiences mass shootings at such a high frequency. CBS News reports that so far in 2019, there has been an average of more than one mass shooting per day. According to Mother Jones, these shootings are increasingly driven by extreme prejudice such as white supremacy and misogyny. According to its analysis, a third of mass shootings since 2011 have involved shooters with a history of domestic abuse or violence towards women. Such is the case for both the Dayton and El Paso shootings. The El Paso shooter publicly claimed that his violence was a “response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas,” mirroring language used by President Trump and conservative news organization Fox News. Meanwhile, the Dayton shooter reportedly had been obsessed with violent misogyny since high school, where he kept “rape” and “kill” lists populated with the names of his fellow students. However, rather than condemn these violent sentiments, U.S. leadership and the president in particular have all but endorsed it. President Trump continues to carry out violent anti-immigrant policies on the United States’ southern border and has yet to apologize for, or acknowledge, racist and misogynistic comments made before and during his term as president. CBS News reports that seven Democratic presidential candidates have outright called the president a white supremacist, and many more have accused him of actively encouraging this ideology.

So far, there has been no move by the president of the United States to acknowledge the administration’s role in both supporting the harmful ideologies that inspire violent attacks and keeping assault-rifle-style weapons easily accessible throughout the United States. CBS News reports that the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, a law that would require federal background checks on sales and transfers of firearms, has stalled on the desk of Senator Mitch McConnell, a member of President Trump’s political party who has refused to bring the bill to a vote within the U.S. Senate. So far in 2019, the U.S. has had more mass shootings than days have passed, and this destructive and devastating trend is unlikely to stop until actions are taken to limit the accessibility of high capacity weapons and the spread of harmful ideology.

Megan Munce

Megan Munce is a freshman at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications pursuing her interests in international relations, law and women's issues.
Megan Munce

About Megan Munce

Megan Munce is a freshman at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications pursuing her interests in international relations, law and women's issues.

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