The man expected to be Mexico’s next president is considering a radical new approach in the long-running war on the drug trade: amnesty. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has a wide lead ahead of Sunday’s presidential election, said that if he wins he may push for a law allowing some nonviolent criminals to walk free, the Los Angeles Times reports. “I will not rule out any option” to achieve peace, he said in a debate. His advisors acknowledged that it was a clumsy way to roll out such a controversial proposition, but they said it is something the campaign is seriously considering. They said amnesty would be part of a broader shift away from punitive measures and toward “transitional justice,” a term used to describe the way countries emerge from periods of conflict and address large-scale or systematic human rights violations.
Olga Sanchez Cordero, a retired Supreme Court judge who is expected to be named interior secretary if Lopez Obrador wins, told Reforma newspaper that the amnesty would be a “pacification strategy” that would shield some low-level criminals who grow, use and transport narcotics. The effort, she said, would help reintegrate into society some of the estimated 600,000 Mexicans employed by drug cartels. She said Lopez Obrador is weighing decriminalizing drug consumption and launching a truth-and-reconciliation process. That undertaking, as it was carried out in post-apartheid South Africa, involves the creation of a commission tasked with exposing past wrongdoing by a government or others. Alfonso Durazo, whom Lopez Obrador plans to nominate as his secretary of public security, said at a forum on violence that the candidate “has proposed a process of peace and national reconciliation, not a pact with organized crime.”