New amnesty proposals hope to to reduce Mexico’s gang-related crime levels

Amongst higher pensions for Mexico’s elderly and a push to keep NAFTA afloat, the new incoming President AMLO has also made clear that amnesty will play a large roll in his drastic fight against corruption and crime.

With the highest mortality rate in the country’s modern history recorded in 2017, he looks to approach crime in ways which former Presidents have not ventured and upon his appointment in December hopes to set in motion talks of amnesty for gang members.

The plans have been met with a mixture of approval and anger as citizens and family members of those people involved with gang crime consider the wider implications and also the uncertainty of the President-elect’s ideas.

Though there is little detail about the logistics of Lopez Obrador’s amnesty plans, it has been claimed that amnesty could be offered to low-level criminals, whilst this opportunity is ruled out for violent crimes such as murder. By targeting criminals that have been recruited by cartels as teenagers or drug-mules that were forced into working, reports the Associated Press, the hope would be to reintegrate the individuals into society through education and transformative methods.

El Solecito Collective is an organisation helping families find missing persons which recently told the Associated Press that these efforts weren’t enough and the fight against cartels could extend amnesty even further. The organisation, consisting of a number of people who have lost members of their own families that have disappeared due to gang crime continue to search for unmarked graves across the country.

The group has uncovered over 300 bodies hidden in graves around Mexico’s Gulf, which serves to highlight the mere tip of Mexico’s gang and cartel problems. Amnesty in return for information on the location of bodies is something volunteer Lucia Diaz had touched upon when discussing the proposals.

Between December 2012 and June 2018, there were 11,268 kidnappings officially reported in Mexico, a number of these were victims of criminal gangs who demand a ransom for a person’s return. According to a report by the Registro Nacional de Datos de Personas Extraviadas o Desaparecidas (The National Registry of Data of Missing or Missing Persons) which was dated from April 2017, between the years 2009-2015, irregularities were also detected in the investigations of missing persons due investigative and police failures. Although these figures relate to more than just gang-related forced disappearances, Mexico’s attempts to reduce narco-trafficking and the violence surrounding it have stagnated and with them, the police force’s abilities to solve cases sometimes appear to be marred with suspected corruption. Police have been implicated in recent kidnapping cases such as that of when police were charged with selling three Italian men to an organised gang, before disappearing earlier this year.

Contrary to higher demands for amnesty usually from families of the missing, others have suggested that amnesty for criminals will not bring any justice because the root cause is not being addressed. Unemployment combined with a troubled justice system has seen a growth in gang crimes and particularly a surge in kidnappings of ordinary citizens within Mexico, reported Vox. This is accentuated by overarching fears among Mexicans that the majority of the Mexican Police is involved with corruption, and a stark realization that the current systems in place are not sufficient in protecting Mexican citizens.   

Despite the fact that AMLO ’s proposals face contention from numerous areas, one general trend slips to the surface during these discussions. The demand for truth is becoming increasingly vocal across all areas of Mexico and with that a desire for an honest approach from Mexico’s politics.

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