Front-Runner In Mexican Presidential Campaign Wants Amnesty For Cartel Drug Lords
In a move that was almost instantly condemned, the front-runner in the Mexican presidential campaign suggested exploring a deal with the devil in a hail-mary attempt to bring peace to the violence wracked nation.
While campaigning in the southern state of Guerrero this weekend, Andrés Manuel López Obrador floated the idea of an amnesty for drug cartel kingpins, saying he wanted a dialogue on the drug war that has cost the country an estimated 200,000 lives over the last decade.
“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, reports The Guardian.
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.”
Mexico Daily News reported that his idea was quickly rejected by the leadership of both the National Action Party (PAN) and the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), who together with the Citizens’ Movement Party will field a candidate on a joint ticket in next year’s presidential election.
The president of the PRD National Council said the amnesty proposal showed that López Obrador lacked understanding about the reality the country is facing.
“What this country needs is justice for all those people who have been victims of organized crime, for all those who have been relegated by the current political and economic system. This country needs institutions that provide justice and protect citizens’ rights,” Ángel Ávila countered.
“AMLO’s proposal reflects complete ignorance of the reality of the country and allows his great contempt for the law and the constitution to be seen,” he added.
The proposal came as violence unleashed by a decade-long drug cartel crackdown shows few signs of slowing: Mexico recently registered its most murderous month in memory, with 2,371 homicides recorded in October.
And supporters of AMLO (as López Obrador is known) wondered aloud why the comments stirred such outrage in a country where politicians are widely seen as working hand-in-glove with the narcos.
López Obrador leads early polls, with a recent survey in the newspaper Reforma putting him 14 points ahead of the likely PRI candidate, the former finance minister José Antonio Meade.
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