Mexico Presidential Candidate Vows to End Drug War

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), the candidate-in-waiting of the center-left Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), said last week that he would end the US-backed war on drugs in Mexico if he is elected president. He said his government would instead concentrate on creating jobs and fighting corruption.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (wikimedia.org)
His comments come as the region is awash in criticism of US-style drug wars and calls for a discussion of alternatives, including decriminalization and legalization. Regional heads of state will meet to discuss the issue later this month, and it looks likely to be on the agenda at the Summit of the Americas in Colombia next month.

AMLO was also the PRD candidate in the 2006 elections, barely losing to National Action Party (PAN) candidate Felipe Calderon in a hotly contested election. At least in part to strengthen his stature amid accusations of election fraud, Calderon called out the military to fight Mexican drug trafficking organization shortly after taking office. Since then, more than 50,000 people have been killed in prohibition-related violence, shaking the country's confidence in its institutions.

Lopez is currently trailing the Institutional Revolutionary Party's (PRI) candidate Enrique Pena Nieto and PAN nominee Josefina Vazquez Mota in national polls. In one poll early this month, Pena Nieto had 36%, Vazquez Mota had 29%, and AMLO had 17%. In another, the figures were Pena Nieto at 49%, Vazquez Mota at 28%, and AMLO at 19%.

"We're going to stop the war (against organized crime) and justice will be procured," if he is elected, AMLO said in remarks reported by the Mexico City daily La Jornada. "We are not going to use this strategy because it has not produced results. There will be jobs, we'll fight corruption and calm down the country. We know how to do it, I'm sure," he said.

He also vowed to end impunity and criticized the government's use of high-profile arrests and heavily-covered presentations of captured capos to the media as evidence it was actually achieving anything in its battle with the drug cartels.

"Politicians who want to resolve everything through the use of the media are responsible for the lack of security and violence, because they have not established justice, employment and wellbeing. They look the other way and, continue a policy that produces poverty, resentment, hate, hostility, insecurity and violence; they want to resolve it with wars, threats of a crackdown and PR stunts," he said.

"How are those who have no moral authority, who are dishonest and corrupt, going to guarantee justice?" AMLO asked. "With what moral authority can they ask others to do right if they don't do it themselves? And furthermore they let established interest groups make decisions just like in the past in this country."

Bernardo Batiz, whom Lopez Obrador has named as his attorney general-in-waiting if he wins, added that they want to bring social peace and respect for the human rights of victims, witnesses, and criminals alike.

"We propose to move from a war where there are enemies to a justice system with humane criteria," he said. He also vowed there would not be harsher laws, more prisons, more soldiers in the streets, or "complicity with anybody," a clear reference to the widespread suspicion in Mexico that the Calderon government is cozy with Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and his Sinaloa cartel.

While AMLO and company were campaigning against the drug war, PAN candidate Vazquez Mota was doing some drug-related politicking herself. On Saturday, as she filed documents needed to make her the official PAN candidate, Vazquez Mota also handed in a drug test and a lie detector test she said showed she has no ties to organized crime.

The election is July 1.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Good intentions, same results.

As a life-long resident of an area VERY close to the Mexican border, and knowing first hand how things work in the country of my ancestors, I have a pretty good idea what will happen when ANY person becomes the newly elected President of Mexico. Like those before him, they all have good intentions and really DO want to rescue this poor, dieing country. THEN, America steps in to say "Hello" (we are your new bosses) and proceedes to sift through the new President's policies. IF these policies are not in line with America's, or if this new President decides to go a different way, try a new approach, or distance themselves from this most hypocritical country, the CIA or other terrorists will find a way to "change" the "new" back to the "old". Why? Because American Governmental policy will NOT stand for reason, sanity, autonomy, freedom from American oppression, and of course, DRUGS. American finances HAVE to keep these insane drug policies the same, regardless of a different approach, why? PRIVATE PRISON'S. WE have to keep them full because an empty prison bunk is not making money for investors. EMPLOYMENT. These private prisons are springing up like weeds on steroids. Thus, thousands of jobs for those willing to do ANYTHING to keep the family fed. "What's wrong with that"? you may ask? Most of the "duties"  are usually against most TRUE Human being's morals or sense of compassion. This is why they hire monsters for the job. The list goes on for miles. Going to Mexico on vacation is just as but, not more "dangerous" then a vacation right here in the good 'ol U.S. of A. We have all heard the horror stories of some poor family coming to America to visit. And after all they went through to get here, the funds, the passports, the arrangements, and the rest of the pressure and pain, only to be robbed, beaten and quite possibly murdered. Not everywhere, not everytime, but, it still happens just the same. Just like in Mexico.

good ol usa

DITTO!!!!!!!!!

John Thomas's picture

A New Paradigm

Yes.  That's the way it's always happened before.  But we are entering a new era.  Never before has there been such unity in Latin America to end marijuana prohibition.  And never before has there been so much public support for re-legalizing marijuana in the U.S.   Polls show public support has now passed 50 percent, nationwide, with around 60 percent in the Western states. 

The perfect storm is building to unleash a tsunami of justice to roll over, not just the U.S. and Mexico, but the entire planet! 

Mexican Elections

I agree with Javier.  Regardless of who (allegedly) wins the election, the drug cartels have enough power to "buy" their safety.  This would be the situation in any poverty stricken third world country.  (Except Hugo Chavez', who runs his with an iron fist!) Drug Cartels only worry are their own rival cartels.  Not unlike the early Sicillian "families". 

End Mexican and World Drug War

Whoever is elected president of Mexico, the first order of business must be to end the drug war.  Ending the war on drugs is the only weapon that can deal a blow to the drug cartels, stop the violence, corruption and moral deterioration of the world, and to do that Mexico must ignore the drug-war nonsense coming from the US and the UN.  Withdrawal from the three UN drug-prohibition treaties would be a swell start.  Electing someone in Mexico as president who will fight to end the drug war would be another big plus.

Javier, it is much more than

Javier, it is much more than For Profit prisons. That is only the tip of the iceberg. But it is all about money(allways, always, ALWAYS.. is about money).

Our U.S. economy is tied into the (25% of the economy/GDP) industries which would be affected by "Hemp" and MJ. Much of the concern is way overblown(always is) by those industries. But that is how they always deal with competition anymore.. the slightest amount of competition is the end of the world/their long term prospects and any change or loss of control is fought tooth and nail.

Alcohol, taking everything into account... bartenders-products-buildings-stocks-bonds-loans, comes to 750 BILLION$ a year(GDP)(5%<>).

Taking Pharma(drug-MMJ), cotton(Fiber-wood), seed oil/protein/food and feed additives, seed genetics(Monsanto wants Soy to be king) DuPont fibers/chemicals, Weyerhouser-Treefarms..Wallstreet and Banks washing Drug money, DEA employment(80 offices), outright corruption-bribes-seizures........and prisons. Well, you get the idea, there are literally Trillions of dollars of Financial affects. Mind you, the affects would be mostly over the long term, slow to start and blown out of proportion by the organizations dependent on the drug war continuing. And much of their individual exposures could be negated by simply adapting.

But adaption or change is a threat-again overblown- to the status quo.

This is the way it has always been in America... scream, lobby, intimidate to gain or keep control of the commerce/commercial markets... and if things change, those same "screamers" just say, oh, well, deal with it, spend a little to get control of a new product/industry-move onto the next thing that will consume the increasing money supply from Central Banks.

Having ranted this Treatise, either one believes that money guides regulation, or concern for the average person guides regulation. 

I don't and never will believe it is the latter.

AMLO 2012 to stop war on

AMLO 2012 to stop war on drugs. Peace!

dysfunctional

The best drug policy Mexico could ever have would be to announce the legalization of all aspects of marjuana growth, sales and consumption. Not only would it hurt the cartels but the flood of commercially grown and packaged marijuana hitting the US would force the US Federal government to give up the war on marijuana and hopefully make a real change to the current dysfunctional paradigm. cezar

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