Will Mexico’s New President Legalize Drugs and Save Mexico?
Large portions of Mexico are ruled by criminal gangs who won't hesitate to kill anyone who gets in their way or might pose a threat to their profits and hold on power. These criminals are fueled mostly by the drug trade, which is Mexico's largest industry and supported by the country's oligarchy and the CIA.
More than 200,000 people have been killed in Mexico's drug wars and just last year there were 23,000 murders.
Mexicans have long had their fill of drug violence and corruption but it has proven extremely difficult to push back against those in power.
When U.S. DEA agent Andrew Hogan was tracking the location of Mexico's leading drug lord, El Chapo Guzmán, he was repeatedly thwarted by the CIA and the Mexican federal government. Only when he kept plans to capture Guzman from leaking to the CIA was he successful.
Since it is impossible to take out the rogue elements within the CIA and international oligarchy that benefit from the drug trade, the only viable option for Mexico has been to simply legalize illicit drugs and eliminate the profit motive. But until recently no one in power was willing to openly propose such a heresy.
President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s (AMLO) proposed minister of the interior, Olga Sanchez, is reportedly opening a debate about the possible legalization of marijuana and poppy cultivation as a means of reducing the extensive drug crime and systemic violence nationwide.
Ms. Sanchez is a former supreme court justice with a long-standing belief in the decriminalization of drugs as a path to getting rid of both the drug gang violence and the corruption fueled by illicit drugs.
During a conference entitled “Violence and Peace, Neglect, Truth or Justice” that took place recently at the Colegio de Mexico (Colmex), Sanchez told her audience, “(AMLO) knew perfectly well of my press conference, and above all, of my written articles on the decriminalization of drugs. He told me verbatim: ‘carte blanche, whatever is necessary to bring peace to the country. Let’s open debate”.
During the election, AMLO made it clear that he wanted to do something radical to deal with crime. In a country where every fifteen minutes a person is killed, adding thousands more police, guns and violence to the mix would only make things worse – just as it has for many years. As he said during a campaign speech, “The failed strategy to tackle insecurity and violence will change. More than using force, we will attack the causes that create insecurity and violence. I’m convinced that the most efficient and most humane way to confront these evils necessarily demand the combating of inequality and poverty.”
In her speech, Sanchez firmly backed up the Presidentelect’s position. She said that, “No one can deny that in the last 10 years the state has been incapable of stopping violence. It is time that the government to stop pretending nothing is happening and that there is a human rights policy”.
What Sanchez is proposing involves multiple parts. First there is decriminalization of marijuana and poppy cultivation as major offenses. Then the plan involves:
• A Transitional Justice Program. This will allow for amnesty and reconciliation for those who have committed lesser crimes between 2006 and 2018. There is also a plan for what to do with the backlog of many pending cases in the courts. This would involve the controversial idea of reducing penalties just to get certain investigations moving. Without it, Sanchez feels the situation will stay as a stalemate for all parties. “We have very few sentences in the country, the cause, modus operandi, material and intellectual authors, whether they are part of the state apparatus, private subjects or both have not been investigated.”
• Truth Commissions. Modeled to an extent after what happened in post-apartheid South Africa, commissions would be set up to allow the truth about who committed what crimes as a path towards possible reconciliation with the public and large. They would be convened for certain specific cases where the events were bad enough to require some structure for the process, such in the notorious Ayotzinapa massacre. (This was the disappearance of 43 male students from Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College in 2014. The students had headed out to commemorate the anniversary of the 1968 Tlatelolco Massacre, then vanished. A commission at the time concluded that local authorities and police kidnapped the students and turned them over to the local Guerreros Unidos crime syndicate, which then presumably killed them all.) Hearings would be held and consideration would be made for those who opened up rather than stayed silent. The plan Sanchez is proposing would include amnesties and “a national plan for reparations to the victims”.
• Reconciliation. With decriminalization in place, amnesty perhaps offered for lesser crimes, and Truth Commissions having brought out what really happened, the next step would involve finding ways to bring all parties back into the mainstream of life. Such moves would also involve, according to Sanchez, “public policies to recover social and economic spaces” Beyond this is next the need to deal with inequality and poverty across the country. What Obrador plans to do about both is unclear, but he does believe both must be dealt with quickly and perhaps equally as radically as the approaches to dealing with current and past crimes. The fundamental principle AMLO is applying here is that if these can fester or just get better gradually, any short-term gains in peace would deteriorate rapidly into a situation similar to what it was in the past.
For both AMLO and Sanchez, the approach to governing will be using the power of socialization and community to bring people together. While this is an important step, it won't dislodge the deeply entrenched criminal class that rules both sides of the Mexican-american border.
AMLO'S ideas are so drastically different than the past decades of using brute force as the fundamental plan that it will take time for people just to get used to the ideas. The amnesty proposal, for example, has already raised criticism from the military, police and former candidates for the Presidency, despite that amnesty will not be allowed to apply to the most serious violations of human rights.
Decriminalizing Mexico will take much more bold and effective measures than just reducing poverty and legalizing some drugs. Most sociopathic narcoterrorists can't be rehabilitated.
The most effective way to address Mexico's problems would be to digitize the currency using blockchain technology, ban cash and contract with multiple independent third parties to audit the government's financial records with bounties paid for the discovery of corruption. This would eliminate the opportunity for corruption and crime and create a much-needed tax base.
If Mexico adopted a regional people's currency such as the AMERO it could use grants to eliminate poverty and fund essential development.
With legalization of pot in some U.S. states and in Canada, many marijuana growers have already moved north to where they can operate legally and serve both the legal and illegal markets without the risk of transporting product and cash across the border.
AMLO clearly has the backing of the people to try something very different and just maybe they are not just another facade of the criminal class and not under the control of the CIA. If so, maybe Mexico has a chance to move forward.