MEXICO CITY (AP) — Lucia Diaz and other volunteers have found more than 300 bodies in clandestine graves along Mexico’s Gulf coast, and she embodies the trepidation, hope and fear with which Mexicans regard the proposal by President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to grant amnesty to calm gang-fueled violence.
With tens of thousands of dead and missing over more than a decade of drug cartel violence, some people say the wounds are too deep to consider the idea. Diaz and others think some form of amnesty is needed if the country is ever to find peace.
Diaz is still searching for her own son, DJ Guillermo Lagunes Diaz, who was kidnapped in 2013 and hasn’t been heard from since. While it isn’t clear who will be given amnesty — Lopez Obrador’s team has ruled out violent offenders —Diaz is so desperate that she might even support amnesty for killers, if they would just reveal where their victims are buried.
“For us as mothers, we would be more inclined to favor the trade — dealing with the criminals so that they can give information and probably that would lead us to our children — than just to have somebody in jail,” Diaz said.
That kind of thing has happened: When Diaz and her Solecito Collective were digging in the fields of Veracruz, they were guided by an anonymous, hand-drawn map of clandestine burial pits, evidently drawn up by a repentant cartel member or killer.
“I’ve been living in this hell for five years already. I think the answer is going to be, ‘Just tell me where my son is,'” she said.
Lopez Obrador is to take office Dec. 1 and his advisers have said amnesty could initially be limited to non-violent offenders, like teenagers forced or recruited to act as cartel lookouts, or women pressured into acting as “mules,” transporting drugs.
Still, some victims’ activists distrust the whole idea of amnesty.