Leading Mexican presidential aspirant Manuel López Obrador has sparked anger after telling the media that he wants to explore a deal with the devil in an attempt to bring peace to the country.
Speaking in the violence-wracked southern state of Guerrero earlier this week, Andrés Manuel López Obrador floated the idea of an amnesty for drug cartel kingpins, saying he wanted a dialogue on the drug war that has cost the country an estimated 200,000 lives over the last decade.
He told reporters that he will propose it and that he is analysing making a deal;
“What I can say is that we will leave no issue without discussion if it has to do with peace and tranquility.”
The comments caused widespread condemnation from López Obrador’s opponents in the political and business classes – many of whom are unnerved by a surge in support for the populist leftwinger.
The suggestion was roundly rejected by PAN national president Ricardo Anaya, who could possibly end up going head to head with AMLO on next year’s ballot if he is ultimately chosen to be the candidate for the Citizens’ Front for México.
He called López Obrador’s suggestion an “extremely old” idea that had already failed in other countries such as Colombia where the government tried to negotiate with infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar, and ended up with a complete “disaster” as a result.
Others argued that the proposal at least offered an alternative to the current government strategy, which has depended heavily on deploying soldiers who have themselves been accused of grave human rights violations.
Such a deal would prove impossible, however, as the country’s drug cartels have splintered, leaving few big bosses left to negotiate with.
López Obrador leads early polls, with a recent survey in the newspaper Reforma putting him 14 points ahead of the likely PRI candidate, the former finance minister José Antonio Meade.