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Cablegate: Guatemala Response to Blue Lantern Level 3: Pre License

VZCZCXYZ0020
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHGT #0360 0562025
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 252024Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY GUATEMALA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1128
INFO RUEHGT/AMEMBASSY GUATEMALA

UNCLAS GUATEMALA 000360

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
PLEASE PASS TO PM/DTCC KYLE M BALLARD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETTC KOMC GT
SUBJECT: Guatemala Response to Blue Lantern Level 3: Pre License
End-Use Check on License 050207380 ARMSA

REF: STATE 4082

1. (SBU) Summary: In response to reftel, EmbOffs researched
the bona fides of the arms

import company ARMSA Guatemala S.A. The research included an
on-site inspection of ARMSA, an interview with the company's owner,
and record checks of both the company and the owner with the
Ministry of Defense's (MOD) General Directorate for the Control of
Firearms and Ammunition (DIGECAM). As a result of the
investigation, Post recommends approval of reftel license. End
Summary.

2. (SBU) Alejandro Alvarez Abularach is ARMSA's principal
shareholder and owner and began

his business in December 2009. Alvarez's main investor, Jorge
Rodrigo Asturias Midence and his family, own the building where the
store is located. The building, a former collection of dance clubs
and commercial stores has been recently renovated, and now contains
a smaller collection of retail and small businesses including a
franchise motorcycle dealer and an internet company. With over 15
years in the weapons industry, Alvarez's store, business practice
and plans for future expansion (which include the addition of an
18-lane shooting range) convinced EmbOffs that Alvarez is a serious
businessman engaged in legitimate entrepreneurial activities within
the Guatemalan weapons industry. His retail store appears secure
and includes three sets of steel bar gates (two upon entering and
one over the showcase), as well as robust electronic and structural
security measures. Alvarez's business will be distribution-based
primarily with small sales to collectors, hunters and individuals
in the city only. At the present time, Alvarez sells non-U.S.
purchased weapons and makes around USD 20,000 per month in sales.

3. (SBU) Per reftel, Alvarez stated that he is familiar with
the regulations governing the import

of U.S.-origin defense articles, including restrictions on
unauthorized re-transfer or re-export.

4. (SBU) ARMSA has a satisfactory record with the MOD's
DIGECAM and has

passed all routine inspections without incident. According to
DIGECAM, ARMSA is a small-scale but well-managed weapons store that
is operating within local laws and regulations.
MCFARLAND

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