Maverick independent candidate Jaime “El Bronco” Rodríguez’s proposal to cut off thieves’ hands was condemned yesterday by the president of the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) — and put into practice by a crime gang in Acapulco.
The gruesome proposition, made in Sunday’s presidential debate, was initially met with disbelief from a moderator before spawning countless internet memes that ridiculed the idea.
CNDH chief Luis Raúl González Pérez called the proposal contrary to basic human rights and said it shouldn’t be given publicity because it represents a threat to people’s dignity.
Interviewed in the Senate where he attended the launch of a book about human rights, González Pérez also said that the Mexican constitution prohibits such a proposal from ever becoming law.
“. . . What does the first article in the constitution say? It talks about the principle of progressiveness, in other words, we can’t have regressions to the past and article 22 says that degrading and humiliating penalties are prohibited,” he said.
While El Bronco’s controversial idea has no chance of becoming law and was quickly denounced by many, narcos in Guerrero’s premier tourist destination were just as quick to heed the candidate’s words.
A narcomensaje, or narco message, left next to the dismembered body of a man found yesterday on a busy Acapulco road made it clear that the mutilation was motivated by Rodríguez’s proposal.
“El Bronco already said it, cut off the hands of the lowlifes who steal. Here’s the first one, sincerely, the buriers,” read one of the three signs left with the body.
The victim’s dismembered hands were left next to his head. Other signs left at the scene threatened the same punishment to other thieves and extortioners.
When Rodríguez initially made his proposal Sunday, moderator Azucena Uresti twice asked the candidate if he was speaking literally to which he replied, “That’s right.”
The governor of Nuevo León, on a leave of absence to run for president, is well-known for using direct and colorful language, and trended ahead of other candidates on Twitter during the debate, during which he also produced a bullet and held it up as he spoke of a son he said he had lost to organized crime.
However, Rodríguez’s poll numbers are low and analysts agree that he has no chance of winning the July 1 election.