Mexico is Bleeding. Can Its New President Stop the Violence?


Nearly 34,000 people were murdered in Mexico last year, according to new government statistics. More than 250,000 people have been murdered and 35,000 have disappeared since the beginning of Mexico’s drug war.

López Obrador, Mexico’s new president, said on the campaign trail that Mexico must “consider multiple alternatives to achieve the pacification of the country.” One of these alternatives is a truth commission to investigate the unsolved disappearance of 43 students from the Ayotzinapa teachers’ college in the southern Mexican town of Iguala in 2014. The truth commission will provide extraordinary resources and personnel to the case and give the victims’ families and perpetrators a voice in the process—neither of which police investigations in Mexico typically do. It will also need the full support of federal authorities, which could be problematic given that, currently, 97 percent of all crimes go unpunished.

Another, potentially controversial, transitional justice tool the López Obrador government has proposed is amnesty to non-violent, low-level drug offenders. Victims of violence in Ciudad Juárez were outraged when, in August 2018, President-elect López Obrador said residents must be “willing to forgive.” Many caught in the crossfire of Mexico’s drug war say justice and punishment should come before forgiveness.

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The Conversation