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Plato, Bertrand Russell, Pablo Escobar, Jesus, and AMLO

5 December 2017

Mexican political commentators just love to splash around their erudition. Defending AMLO’s remarks about possibly considering an amnesty for those involved in the narcotics export trade, Federico Arreola

How did I get dragged into all this?

( manages to drag in Plato, Karl Popper, and Bertrand Russell to build his defense of the Morena candidate. You can read the whole thing here, but what it comes down to is guys like Plato (as explained by Popper and Russell) are raising issues not so much because they see their suggestion as the one and only means to an end, but because they are opening a dialog.

And, given the responses from the usual suspects to that “dialog opening” suggestion on who to proceed with the “drug and violence” issue, it doesn’t sound like too many political figures outside AMLO’s camp want to even consider alternatives.  PAN chair Ricardo Anaya dismissed AMLO’s talk of amnesty as “loco”.  He expanded just a bit, referring to Colombia’s “amnesty” for Pablo Escobar as proof that it wouldn’t work… although one badly considered plan, under other circumstances, hardly counts as proof no plan would work.  Lord Russell would dismiss that bit of illogic with a sneer.

OK, so prison wasn’t so bad for me…

Margarita Zavala (Mrs. Felipe “indicted by the world court for genocide” Calderón) said she preferred criminals to go to jail.  Okey dokie.  I suppose building prisons to house the estimated 400,000 Mexicans directly tied to the narcotics industry in one way or another is a public works initiative.  Points for thinking outside the box, an finally coming up with some kind of policy initiative in her lackluster campaign for the Presidency.

Mexico City’s mayor (and possible Citizens’ Front candidate for President), Miguel Angel Mancera, frets that an amnesty means that one has sanctioned the whole business, and would effectively legalize organized crime:

Amnesty means a law of oblivion, a law of forgiveness, and the truth is that this would sanction behavior related to drug trafficking… it would stop being a crime.

I donno. Mancera states the obvious, that amnesty means a law of oblivion (at least as far as the state is concerned), but I don’t see that it sanctions the actions by any means. José López Portillo was in no way sanctioning guerilla uprisings when he sent an amnesty bill to Congress in 1978, nor was Carlos Salinas justifying the Zapatistas in his January 1994 amnesty decree.

And, naturally, the heads of the various military branches all poo-pooed the idea… even when pointed out that some of them might be eligible for amnesty.

I’m no Benito Juarez, but so what?

But, my favorite objection came from PRD’s Ángel Ávila Romero. Ávila Romero rejects the idea, not because it might not be legal (although it apparently would, and apparently does have precedent) but because it is … for lack of a better term… too Jesusy.

…forgiveness comes from a religious concept that is applied to the state. Mexico is a secular state. Juarez separated religion from politics because mixing the two can cause social polarization.

Not a bad argument really, though I recall Juarez (a former seminarian) forgiving and forgetting a lot of French soldiers and imperial hangers-on after Maximiliano was taken care of. Did he slip and think of Jesus? Or maybe Maimonides (“Better 99 guilty go free, than an innocent man wrongly suffer)? Or Carlos Salinas?

One Comment leave one →
  1. 31 December 2017 1:47 pm

    The real question is what problem would an amnesty solve? Until the cartels have some equally lucrative trade to replace the drug trade, nothing’s going to change. Either that or the profits in the drug trade go away completely with no replacement. Either way, what would an amnesty do now? I personally believe that until the USA decriminalizes all aspects of the drug trade we will continue to have violent cartels to contend with. Only within the framework of decriminalization or legalization could an amnesty work to stop the violence.

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