Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has given his future interior minister “carte blanche” to explore the possibility of legalizing drugs in a bid to curb violent crime.
Olga Sanchez Cordero, a former Supreme Court judge tapped to lead the interior ministry, drew applause when she made the comment at a university seminar on addressing brutal violence fueled by Mexico’s drug cartels, the biggest suppliers to US consumers of cocaine, heroin and other narcotics.
It was one of her first public events since Lopez Obrador, a leftist widely known as “AMLO,” won a landslide victory in Mexico’s July 1 election with a promise of sweeping change in a country fed up with crime and corruption.
“On the subject of decriminalizing drugs, Andres Manuel told me, and I quote: ‘Carte blanche. Whatever is necessary to restore peace in this country. Let’s open up the debate,'” said Sanchez Cordero.
The future interior minister said she also plans to propose a bill in Congress — where Lopez Obrador’s coalition won a majority in both houses — for a “transitional justice system,” reports DW.
It would include reduced sentences for criminals who help shed light on unsolved crimes, such as the tens of thousands of missing persons cases in Mexico; truth commissions similar to those used in post-conflict situations; special investigative commissions; and a reparations program for victims.
It would also include Lopez Obrador’s controversial proposal for an amnesty for some drug crimes, said Sanchez Cordero, who is 71.
Lopez Obrador has notably invited Pope Francis to participate in a national dialogue on the amnesty proposal. One of his advisers said Saturday that the pope had accepted — only for the Vatican to deny it Monday.
Sanchez Cordero said the invitation would in fact only be made formally after Lopez Obrador takes office on December 1.
Since Mexico deployed its army to fight drug trafficking in 2006, the country has been engulfed in a wave of violence that has left more than 200,000 murders.
“A transitional justice system for Mexico is possible and urgent, not just for the victims of the violence but for all of Mexican society,” said Sanchez Cordero.
The prospect of a showdown between the blunt Lopez Obrador and Trump over the planned U.S.-Mexico border wall and the American’s efforts to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has both friends and enemies worried.
“There’s going to be a clash of vanities, a clash of egos, and who knows where it will end,” said Juan Jose Rodriguez Prats, a former party colleague, friend and later adversary of Lopez Obrador who has known him for 40 years.
Communist Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) previously called for a mass immigration invasion of the United States, declaring it a “human right”.
“And soon, very soon — after the victory of our movement — we will defend all the migrants in the American continent and all the migrants in the world,” Obrador said, adding that immigrants “must leave their towns and find a life in the United States.”
Obrador had made previous remarks about granting amnesty to Mexican drug cartels.
“If it is necessary … we will talk about granting amnesty so long as the victims and their families are willing,” he said.
He later told reporters: “We’ll propose it. I’m analyzing it. What I can say is that we will leave no issue without discussion if it has to do with peace and tranquility.”
López Obrador’s opponents in the political and business classes condemned the idea, and conservatives are nervous about thea surge in support for the populist spouting Marxist talking points.
His comments also brought accusations of extreme insensitivity, as drug cartels have been responsible for horrific crimes against rivals and innocent bystanders. Guerrero itself has been badly hit by a war for control of the opium poppy and heroin industries, and López Obrador made the remarks in a town where violence is so severe that his own political party, Morena, has still not been able to find a candidate.
“I would hope they never kidnap, torture, kill, disappear and burn [his] loved ones,” José Díaz Navarro, whose brother was kidnapped and killed in the area, told El Universal. “We’ll see if after this he would come to Guerrero to ask them for forgiveness.”
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