Leading presidential aspirant Andrés Manuel López Obrador has come under fire from opposition parties for suggesting that drug cartel leaders might be offered amnesty as a means of ending violence and ensuring ongoing peace.
AMLO, as he is commonly known, made the suggestion Saturday at a Morena party rally in Tixtla, Guerrero.
“We’re going to explore all possibilities, from decreeing an amnesty, [to] also listening to the victims and even demanding that the United States carry out campaigns to reduce the consumption of drugs,” he said.
However, 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 suggestion was also rejected by PAN national president Ricardo Anaya, who could possibly end up going head to head with AMLO on next year’s ballot if he is ultimately chosen to be the candidate for the Citizens’ Front for México.
He called López Obrador’s suggestion an “extremely old” idea that had already failed in other countries such as Colombia where the government tried to negotiate with infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar, and ended up with a complete “disaster” as a result.
“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,” he argued.
“What’s needed in the face of the seriousness of the problem is a serious, intelligent plan, not the violence that the PRI [Institutional Revolutionary Party] has us in or the insanity that López Obrador said.”
Margarita Zavala, who quit the PAN to run as an independent candidate, also sought to differentiate herself from the leftist firebrand, taking to Twitter to proffer her alternative vision for the country.
“AMLO wants amnesty for the corrupt and criminals. His proposal is a country of impunity. I want a Mexico where the law is respected and criminals are in jail,” she wrote.
The presidential election will be held on July 1, 2018 with López Obrador and former Finance Secretary José Antonio Meade — who looks set to win the PRI nomination — appearing at this stage the most likely to emerge as president from a large field of declared and potential candidates.
For the first time, independent aspirants including Zavala, an indigenous healer known as Marichuy and the maverick governor of Nuevo León, Jaime “El Bronco” Rodríguez, will also be allowed to contend for the top job provided they show beforehand that they have sufficient support.
Source: El Universal (sp)