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Death penalty advertisements in Mexico

December 10, 2008 |  8:03 pm


You see some strong stuff on the streets of Mexico City. Women begging with babies in their arms, young kids, high on glue, washing car windshields and children no older than 5 trying to sell chewing gum and lollipops to people eating at sidewalk restaurant tables.

This month, there was a surprising new addition: an advertising campaign from Mexico’s Green Party, Partido Verde in Spanish, demanding the return of the death penalty to the country.

"Because we care about your life -- the death penalty for murderers and kidnappers," read the billboards.

Pc093338 It feels rather strange to be accosted by such a proposal while walking down the street, waiting for the bus or driving on the freeway. But perhaps stranger is that the demand comes from a political party that aligns itself with environmentalism and, generally, with left-of-center values.

As Tracy Wilkinson reported last week, there is a discussion underway in Mexico about bringing back the death penalty.

It is highly unlikely, if not impossible, that the death penalty could be re-introduced because of legal obstacles, according to experts. But the current wave of crime and drug-related violence rocking the country has upped the public’s demand for stronger measures against criminals.  A survey published by El Universal on Monday reported that 70% of respondents supported bringing back the death penalty.

Despite that, lawmakers in the Chamber of Deputies rejected proposals by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the Green Party on Tuesday to create a forum that would have analyzed the reinstatement of the death penalty.

-- Deborah Bonello in Mexico City

Photos:  Mexico's Green Party is running an advertising campaign supporting the death penalty for murderers and kidnappers in the nation. Credit: Deborah Bonello / Los Angeles Times