It was a sunny afternoon in Ciudad Obregón, a city in northwestern Mexico. Abel Murrieta, who is running for mayor of the city-owned municipality of Cajeme, was standing at a traffic intersection next to the mall, holding leaflets on a canvas for votes in the June 6 elections.
A man in a gray shirt and jeans approached, pulled out a gun and pumped 10 bullets into the former state’s attorney, including two into his head, before crossing the street again and fleeing in a waiting car as Murrieta lay on the sidewalk. . Footage from official security cameras broadcast on television showed scattered leaflets and his blood soaks his white shirt.
Murrieta was the 32nd candidate killed ahead of the election, when Mexicans across the country will elect 500 federal deputies, 15 state governors and thousands of mayors and local officials.
Since the election process began last September, 85 politicians have been killed, including 32 running for office, according to Etellekt Consultores, which monitors campaign violence. These are the second bloodiest elections recorded after the 2018 presidential elections.
According to Etellekt, most of the victims were candidates for mayoral posts from parties that are in opposition to those in those states. Their deaths revealed deep-rooted ties between organized crime groups and local officials protecting them.
“If you oppose them, they harass you or kill you,” said Rubén Salazar, director of Etellect. “This is Mexican democracy at the local level. . . No one can run without the permission of the mayor and the local crime chief. “
Murrieta didn’t seem to be an exception. U posthumously released polling station, stated that he was “serious about taking over the crime. . . I’m not afraid. ”A few hours later, he was shot dead, an apparent aggressor trapped by an official street security camera in a state where former Security Minister López Obrador is running for governor.
The political assassinations underlined the challenges facing President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. “hugs do not bullets“The strategy against organized crime, its new militarized federal police force and its repeated promises to bring peace to a country where violence has been on the rise for 15 years and there are almost 100 murders and.
Violence that spirals Mexico since former president Felipe Calderón launched a catastrophic war on drugs in 2006, mexico has been a major electoral concern, dominating many races. This month’s survey was published in the newspaper El Financiero two-thirds of the people disagreed in addition to solving the problem of López Obrador, who approved only 18 percent.
Since 2006, the number of murders has more than tripled. The government says it has now curbed growth, reporting a 4 per cent drop in homicides in the first four months of this year compared to the same period last year.
But there were 2,857 homicides in April, 4 percent more than in April 2020, as well as 77 femicides – murders of women because of their gender – a 13 percent jump from the same month last year.
Mexican killings reached an all-time high in 2019, with 34,682 homicides and 970 homicides femicides. Last year was a little better: 34,554 homicides and 977 femicides. So far this year, there have been 11,277 homicides and 318 homicides.
Ricardo Márquez Blas, a former security officer, said on a dozen occasions since the beginning of López Obrador’s term, the number of homicides exceeded 3,000 a month, including femicides, compared to just three in the previous 2012-18 administration.
Lopez Obrador, who took office in 2018, says he started in a different way by addressing the root causes of crime, offering young people jobs and scholarships instead of directly opposing cartels.
But critics say he, like previous governments, relied on the military instead of reforming the country’s state and local police force. officers make money about $ 600 a month, and half have to buy the boots themselves.
In a sharp critique of Mexican strategy, former US Ambassador Christopher Landau he said López Obrador has adopted a “fairly laissez-faire attitude” towards drug cartels, despite estimates that they control “somewhere between 35 and 40 percent of the country”.
“Look at the cartels. . . like his Vietnam, which it was for some of his predecessors, so I think. . . he sees it as an obstacle to focusing on his agenda, ”he said at an online seminar.
It was reminiscent of the “pax narca” – tolerance for cartel activities provided they remained closed – that ruled while the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) ruled Mexico for most of the 20th century.
“The president doesn’t want to take over El Narco,” Salazar said, using the Mexican term for drug cartels.
He said López Obrador, who is thought to be trying to replicate the centralized power of the PRI, “does not understand” that the old cohabitation has been shattered as new parties disrupt pleasant criminal partnerships and launch new ones.
“The president does not want to recognize that there is a very big problem of drug policy in the country, which is advancing by giant steps,” Salazar said, while politics and crime are mixed at the local level.
Analysts say the climate of polarization is further fueled by the president’s daily press conferences, at which he raises a barrage of criticism at the expense of his political opponents and election authorities, whom he claims are biased.
“With all this polarization, far from fulfilling its promises of peace, it is giving us a more shrunken country,” said Gema Kloppe-Santamaría, a crime and violence expert at Loyola University in Chicago.
“López Obrador polarized these elections to the extent that he practically declared war on the electoral institutions. My big concern is that what we see now will not stop after June 6, ”she said.