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News > Latin America

AMLO's Interior Minister To Fight Mexico's Violence With Legalizing Drugs, Amnesty

  • Interior secretary elect for the National Regeneration Movement (Morena) Olga Sanchez.

    Interior secretary elect for the National Regeneration Movement (Morena) Olga Sanchez. | Photo: Reuters

Published 18 July 2018

Olga Sanchez, AMLO's interior minister, discussed a new strategy to combat organized crime, which includes truth commissions and the legalization of marijuana and poppy.

Mexico’s future minster of the interior Olga Sanchez confirmed Tuesday that president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) has given her a blank check to open a debate on all policies that would help Mexico overcome systemic violence, including the legalization of marijuana and poppy.

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During a conference titled Violence and Peace. Neglect, Truth or Justice at the Colegio de Mexico (Colmex), Sanchez, a former supreme court justice, told the audience “(AMLO) knew perfectly well of all my press conference, and, above all, of my written articles on the decriminalization of drugs. He told me verbatim: ‘carte blanche, (blank check) whatever is necessary to bring peace to the country. Let’s open debate’.”

Sanchez, who will become the first woman in Mexico to head the interior ministry, also discussed the need for “transitional justice” and potential amnesties to members of organized crime within a strategy to stop violent crimes against academics, human rights activists and family members of disappeared people.  

“No one can deny that in the last 10 years the state has been incapable of stopping violence. It is time that for the government to stop pretending nothing is happening and that there is a human rights policy,” Sanchez affirmed.

The proposed amnesties, which will not apply to grave violations of human rights, generated criticism from the military, police and some former presidential candidates.

She has also proposed the creation of truth commissions for specific cases, like the Ayotzinapa massacre. The new government’s plan to battle violence will include “amnesties, a national plan for reparations to the victims, truth commissions, a proposal to decriminalize drugs and public policies to recover social and economic spaces,” Sanchez explained.   

Another controversial proposal is the reduction of penalties in order to move investigations forward and clarify pending cases.

“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,” Sanchez said.

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