President-Elect Has Radical Plan to End Mexico’s Drug War
James Fredrick - Vox
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August 19, 2018

US, Mexico Plan to Target Drug Cartels' $29bn Fortune Al Jazeera

Related: U.S. and Mexico to Set Up Joint Team to Fight Drug Cartels (Reuters)

López Obrador (who is usually referred to by his initials, AMLO) was elected on July 1 with the biggest margin of victory for a president in Mexico’s modern democratic history. “The failed crime and violence strategy will change,” he proclaimed during his victory speech on election night. “We will address the root causes of crime and violence.”

AMLO and his advisers have proposed sending drug war-fighting soldiers back to their barracks, pardoning nonviolent drug offenders, and boosting social programs, repeating slogans like, “Hugs, not gunshots,” on the campaign trail.

If the incoming president gets his way, this will be Mexico’s first major split from the US on crime-fighting and drugs in decades. But the obstacles are many, and it remains to be seen if the new president has the lasting support and the resources to end the drug war.

... “The strategy up until now has been to use police and military force as the first tool,” says Alfonso Durazo Montaño, AMLO’s pick to head the Department of Public Security, which would oversee the police. “While those will still be a resource, they will be the last resort. Our goal is to attack the deep roots of our security problems: political, economic, social, and cultural problems.”

He summarizes their plan in four points:

• Take the military off the streets and replace them with better-trained, better-paid, more professional police

• Rewrite drug laws to regulate marijuana and, possibly, poppy (which is used to make heroin) while pardoning nonviolent drug offenders

• Offer reparations and support for victims of the drug war

• Ramp up social programs, education, and job alternatives in violent, poor regions

Mexico’s transition away from a militarized drug war begins with better police, Durazo Montaño says. “We believe that within three years, we will have made enough progress to be able to take the military off the streets.”

Read the rest at Vox

Related: Mexico’s Poppy-Growing Guerrero State Pushes to Decriminalize Opium (Associated Press)

Related: Mexico Navy Finds 50 Tons of Meth in Mountain Lab (Reuters)

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