With less than seven months left for Mexico’s presidential election, the leading candidate caused controversy when he announced a willingness to forgive cartel leaders’ crimes to restore peace throughout the nation.
During a tour through the Mexican State of Guerrero, leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the leader of MORENA and the current front-runner in the polls, spoke publicly about the pathways he is considering to decrease narco-violence.
“We are going to explore all of the possibilities, from ordering an amnesty, listening to the victims as well, to demanding that the U.S. government carry out campaigns to decrease the demand.”
The announcement of a possible amnesty was made in Guerrero, a state that relies on foreign tourism where the discovery of beheaded bodies and incinerated human remains are no longer shocking to locals. Lopez Obrador blamed the U.S. for the constant narcotics demand. El Universal published a recording of the candidate’s statements.
“(The problem) depends a lot on the U.S. consumption, over there, there are no programs to prevent addictions; there are programs to prevent alcoholism and programs to fight tobacco addiction, but no U.S. programs to understand the problem of drug trafficking, help young men have other options and to keep them from consuming,” Lopez Obrador said. “Then we are going to propose all of that for the country to settle down.”
The topic of cartel violence and impunity in Mexico has become one of the main obstacles faced by the campaign of political rival Jose Antonio Meade Kuribreña, who is being supported by current president, Enrique Peña Nieto, to be the sole contender for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).
According to the non-governmental organization Semaforo Delictivo, in 2017, executions by organized crime spiked 53% in comparison to the prior year with more than 13,500 murders from the start of the year to September. The trend could turn 2017 into the bloodiest year in decades and cartel violence into an unavoidable topic for candidates on the left and right.