MEXICO CITY — Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has given his future interior minister "carte blanche" to explore the possibility of legalising drugs in a bid to curb violent crime, she said Tuesday.
Olga Sanchez Cordero, a former Supreme Court judge tapped to lead the interior ministry, drew applause when she made the comment at a university seminar on addressing brutal violence fueled by Mexico’s drug cartels, the biggest suppliers to US consumers of cocaine, heroin and other narcotics.
It was one of her first public events since Lopez Obrador, a leftist widely known as "AMLO," won a landslide victory in Mexico’s July 1 election with a promise of sweeping change in a country fed up with crime and corruption.
"On the subject of decriminalising drugs, Andres Manuel told me, and I quote: ’Carte blanche. Whatever is necessary to restore peace in this country. Let’s open up the debate,’" said Sanchez Cordero.
The future interior minister said she also plans to propose a bill in Congress -- where Lopez Obrador’s coalition won a majority in both houses -- for a "transitional justice system."
It would include reduced sentences for criminals who help shed light on unsolved crimes, such as the tens of thousands of missing persons cases in Mexico; truth commissions similar to those used in post-conflict situations; special investigative commissions; and a reparations programme for victims.
It would also include Lopez Obrador’s controversial proposal for an amnesty for some drug crimes, said Sanchez Cordero, who is 71.
Lopez Obrador has notably invited Pope Francis to participate in a national dialogue on the amnesty proposal. One of his advisers said Saturday that the pope had accepted -- only for the Vatican to deny it Monday.
Sanchez Cordero said the invitation would in fact only be made formally after Lopez Obrador takes office on December 1.
Since Mexico deployed its army to fight drug trafficking in 2006, the country has been engulfed in a wave of violence that has left more than 200,000 murders.
"A transitional justice system for Mexico is possible and urgent, not just for the victims of the violence but for all of Mexican society," said Sanchez Cordero. — AFP