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Mexican Presidential candiate proposes pardoning cartel leaders for peace

December 5, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Mexican Presidential candiate proposes pardoning cartel leaders for peace

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With fewer than seven months remaining before Mexico’s presidential election, a leading candidate has drawn outrage after suggesting he would explore the idea of pardoning crimes committed by cartel leaders and drug traffickers as a way to restore peace throughout the country.

During a visit to the Mexican State of Guerrero, leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the head of MORENA party and current presidential election front-runner, spoke about the pathways he is contemplating to reduce narco-violence, The Guardian in the UK reported.

“We are going to explore all possibilities, from ordering amnesty, listening to the victims, to demanding that the U.S. government carry out campaigns to decrease demand.”

The announcement of a potential amnesty deal was made in a state that relies on tourism where the discovery of beheaded remains and incinerated bodies are no longer surprising to locals.

Lopez Obrador blamed the U.S. for the high demand for narcotics but failing to mention violence due to other organized crime rackets including kidnapping, extortion, and fuel theft.

“(The problem) depends on the U.S. consumption, there are no programs to prevent addictions; there are programs to prevent alcoholism and to fight tobacco addiction, but no U.S. programs to understand drug trafficking, help young men have options and to keep them from consuming,” Lopez Obrador stated. “Then we are going to propose for the country to settle down.”

Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s proposal of amnesty for drug traffickers prompted this funny meme labeling him the “narco candidate”

The issue of cartel violence and impunity in Mexico has become one of the leading obstacles faced by the campaign of rival Jose Antonio Meade Kuribreña, who is being supported by Mexico’s current president, Enrique Peña Nieto, to be the remaining contender for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

According to Semaforo Delictivo, in 2017, killings by organized criminal groups increased 53% in comparison to last year, with over 13,500 murders from the start of the year to September. The course could turn 2017 into the most violent year in decades.

Ricardo Anaya, President of the PAN party and his possible opponent in next year’s election blasted the suggestion, calling it an “old idea that has been tried in countries such as Colombia and has miserably failed.”

“López Obrador’s plan to pardon drug traffickers is another one of his follies. It is true madness. Besides, it’s an old and bad idea,”

Security experts have widely criticized the idea and maintain the proposal would never reduce violence.

“It would not do much to stop the ongoing violence. The market and the rewards would continue to exist, and different groups would continue to compete – often violently – over that market,” says Tom Long, international relations professor at the University of Warwick.

“Cartels already act with complete impunity in Mexico. The notion of pardoning organized crime figures who have been responsible for mass murder sends the wrong message, and further emboldens the criminal element,” says JammedUp News senior research analyst Michael Falzarano.

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