The Radical Amnesty Plan of Mexico's Next President
Martha Pskowski
The New Republic
July 2nd, 2018

On Sunday, an unconventional candidate prevailed in Mexico's presidential election, preaching forgiveness, instead of punishment, for Mexico's drug war criminals.

In debates and campaign ads, left-populist Andr?s Manuel L?pez Obrador's opponents attacked his security proposals, including his call to offer amnesty for certain drug war crimes. While many details of the president-elect's proposals have not been defined, what's clear is that L?pez Obrador, who won in a landslide, is poised to make a drastic departure from 12 years of heavy-handed policies against the drug trade.

"Amnesty turned into a symbol [during the campaign] around which diverse political figures positioned themselves," says Froylan Enciso, a researcher and professor in the Drug Policy department of the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE) in Mexico City. "Those who believe we need to continue with the current security strategy, and those who want to change it."

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While those investigations go forward, Ort?z Ahlf says amnesty will be considered for vulnerable social groups, who were "co-opted" by organized crime. These social groups include young people, subsistence farmers, and indigenous people: rural farmers, for example, who decided to grow marijuana when other crops failed, or teenage boys paid to be look-outs for organized crime in poor neighborhoods.

The amnesty would exclude violent criminals such as murderers and torturers. Ort?z Ahlf says that only those committing to rehabilitation and to actively participating in the reconciliation process - for example attending mediation sessions with victims - would be able to enter the amnesty program.
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