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Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America (Treaty of Tlatelolco) 

Sections

General Provisions

Current Status

Treaty Text and Documents

References and Links

General Provisions
The 1967 Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America (often referred to as the Treaty of Tlatelolco) established the world’s first regional nuclear-weapons-free zone (NWFZ).  The Treaty prohibits Latin American countries from the possession, receipt, testing, manufacture, storage, and deployment of nuclear weapons on their territories, even if sponsored by another state.  Parties to the Treaty undertake to use nuclear energy and technology exclusively for peaceful purposes.  The Treaty also requires its parties to accept the application of comprehensive IAEA safeguards to their nuclear activities.

In addition, the Treaty established a regional organization—the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America (OPANAL)—to carry out special inspections and to ensure compliance with the Treaty.  However, in August 1992, an amendment to Article 16 of the Treaty limited OPANAL’s jurisdiction by designating the IAEA as the sole authority responsible for conducting special inspections in the region.

The Treaty of Tlatelolco has two additional protocols that deal with matters concerning non-Latin American countries.  Protocol 1 obligates all extra-zonal countries that still control territory in Latin America and the Caribbean to respect the region’s denuclearized status.  The United States, United Kingdom, France, and the Netherlands are the only non-Latin American states with territories in the NWFZ, and all four have signed and ratified Protocol 1.  Protocol 2 requires that all NPT-designated nuclear weapon states (NWS) undertake not to bring nuclear weapons into the region or threaten their use against Treaty parties.  All NWS have signed and ratified Protocol 2.  Under Article 28 of the Treaty, which contains provisions for its entry into force, states are required to sign and ratify the Treaty and its two protocols, along with the IAEA safeguards.  Pursuant to Article 28, states also have the right to waive the aforementioned requirements and declare the Treaty effective unilaterally.

Current Status
The Treaty of Tlatelolco entered into force on April 25, 1969, following its ratification by 11 Latin American countries that exercised their right to waive the conditions in Article 28.  Thereafter, the Treaty would become effective for additional states as soon as they ratified it and waived the necessary requirements.

Cuba was the last country to sign the Treaty, doing so on March 25, 1995.  The Cuban government had previously stated that their accession to the Treaty was contingent upon U.S. withdrawal from Guantanamo Bay.  On October 23, 2002, Cuba ratified the Treaty, making Tlatelolco universal across the 33 countries of Latin America.

References and Links
Jones, R. W., McDonough, M. G., & Spector, L. S. (1998). Appendix E: Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones. In Tracking Nuclear Proliferation:  A Guide in Maps & Charts, 1998 (pp. 301-305). Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.  Retrieved from http://www.carnegieendowment.org/files/Tracking_AppE.pdf

Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco). (n.d.). U.S. Department of State. Retrieved from http://www.state.gov/p/wha/rls/70658.htm

Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco). (2009, June 12). Center for Nonproliferation Studies. Retrieved from http://www.nti.org/e_research/official_docs/inventory/pdfs/tlat.pdf