Skip to comments.To live or die in Mexico: Murders and kidnappings prompt calls to bring back the death penalty
Posted on 02/20/2009 9:50:01 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
MEXICO CITY The street peddler's face darkened when asked how the Mexican government should deal with the rash of kidnappings and drug slayings terrorizing the nation.
"They should catch the perpetrators and kill them," said Luis Bote, 21, as he served steaming tacos from a basket on his bicycle. "Only if the criminals are afraid will these crimes ever stop."
Bote isn't alone. Such calls to reinstate the death penalty are gaining ground in Mexico amid an unprecedented surge in violent crime. Most of the violence is tied to the warring narcotics gangs, who killed a record 5,500 people last year, including a growing number of kidnapping victims.
In December, the governor of northern Coahuila state sponsored a bill in the Mexican Congress that would bring back the death penalty for kidnappers who murder their victims. Legislators are expected to debate the proposal when they resume sessions in February.
"These are people who won't be rehabilitated in jail," said Coahuila Gov. Humberto Moreira, whose cattle ranching state borders Texas. "Let's get real and let's start executing the kidnappers."
The Green Party, a minority party in Congress, has gone further, advocating capital punishment in all homicide cases. "Because we worry about your life, we're going to end the life of murderers," declare the party's billboards, which are plastered across the capital.
The proposals have sparked outrage from human rights activists, the Roman Catholic Church and some politicians, who denounce them as immoral and illegal. Mexico eradicated the final vestiges of the death penalty in 2005. The last time the punishment was applied here was in 1961.
Since 2000, the Mexican government has successfully defended more than 400 Mexicans on death row in the United States. Mexico is also bound by the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights, which bars countries who have abolished the death penalty from later reinstating it.
Critics accuse Moreira of exploiting Mexicans' fear of kidnapping to rally votes ahead of the 2009 congressional elections. The governor's Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, is hoping to rebound as the country's dominant political force nine years after the collapse of the one-party system in 2000.
"It's clearly an electioneering tactic, and this is playing with the feelings of desperation of many Mexicans," said Carlos Navarrete, a senator with the leftist Democratic Revolutionary Party, which opposes the bill. "There are some topics with which the Congress should not play." The pro-Catholic National Action Party, to which President Felipe Calderon belongs, has also opposed the proposal.
But they may be out of touch with their electorate.
Between 70 and 80 percent of Mexicans favor the death penalty for kidnappers who kill their victims, according to several recent opinion polls. Forty-four percent support executing kidnappers in general, compared with 50 percent who are opposed, according to an August survey by The Associated Press and the pollster Ipsos.
Mexico has one of the highest kidnapping rates in the world, with dozens of U.S. citizens among the victims. Officially, an average of 70 people are abducted each month, although private security firms say the real figure is 10 times higher. The kidnappers demand anywhere from a few hundred dollars to millions of dollars in ransom, in what has become an important source of income for the organized crime mafias.
Most Mexicans don't report kidnappings for fear of endangering the victims' lives or for fear that the police may be involved.
Those fears were confirmed in August with the kidnapping murder of Fernando Marti, the 14-year-old son of a sporting goods magnate. Marti's driver and body guard were also tortured and killed. Two Mexico City police officers, including the leader of the airport's anti-kidnapping squad, were later implicated in the murder and another 14 officers were placed under investigation.
Days later, one of the country's most prominent sports promoters, Nelson Vargas, revealed that his 17-year-old daughter, Silvia, had been kidnapped 11 months before and was still missing.
"No one is immune to this anymore," said Roderic Ai Camp, a Mexico expert at Claremont McKenna College in California." It has really brought home on a personal level that there's corruption and crime, and in extreme cases, violence that's touching everyone."
Still, opponents of reinstating the death penalty argue that the chances of executing the wrong person particularly in such a notoriously flawed justice system as Mexico's are unacceptably high. They also argue that the government should not greet violence with more violence.
"No one has the right to take someone's life," said Elisabeth Gonzalez, a copy shop worker in the capital. "That's not the way to fight crime. Supposedly that's what the laws are for."
With an armed citizenry, you don't have to wait!
Summary execution at the hands of the federales. will definitely screw up the tourist trade. not that I care about mexico at all
Why should we give stimulus money to illegal aliens????
Shut the border to illegal aliens NOW
A country without borders is not a nation. anonymous
I can't imagine being AFRAID of our police. If you can't tell the good guys from the bad guys, what are you supposed to do???
De-criminalize cannabis on our side of the border and most of those gangs in Mexico would be out of business in very short order.
.......as he served steaming tacos from a basket on his bicycle. ......
I guess I never saw a bicycle basket taco heater capable of producing steam
Isn't that convenient.
I was just talking about this the other day with some friends. While far from ideal, I noted that it will probably take a step like this to keep Mexico from collapsing.
They could always withdraw from the treaty, so that, in and of itself, is not really an obstacle. Whether it is the wisest decision is arguable, but they’re going to have to do something dramatic, and soon, or the United States Marines are going to be mopping up in a couple of years.
Stop smoking cannabis on our side of the border and most of those gangs in Mexico would be out of business in very short order.
Another option is to work the scum to death in labor camps and have them build useful things for free. That way you can also build up Mexico’s legitimate economy and give an incentive to prevent people from leaving the country.
The Democrat voter base would all be in for de-criminalizing cannabis. Why is it that the politicians aren’t doing this? It’s possible that democrat tyrants somehow benefit from the violence and instability generated by drug wars.
I guess their Green Party is a little wiser than ours. ;)
If you want on, or off this S. Texas/Mexico ping list, please FReepMail me.
While they’re at it, they need to give the people of Mexico the 2nd amendment! Let they stay there and fix their own country, they don’t want to be here anyway.
Maybe summary executions will become a spectator sport. It might give Mexico a unique reason for going South.
As for the warring gangs, well, you know those Montegues and Capulets.
It even make the animal rights wackos happy. The Rodeos might be gotten rid of.
I can’t imagine being AFRAID of our police.
Imagine it! Soon you will have much reason to fear the police.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.