Mexico will increase the security of the candidates who are going to the biggest elections in their history this year
Security Secretary Rosa Icela Rodríguez said more security forces would be deployed in high-risk areas, and security would be provided to candidates receiving threats to protect them from what she called a “crime party”, the efforts of organized crime actors or whites collars to identify or block candidates in races across the country.
Federal, state and local authorities will need to coordinate around identifying potential risks, Rodríguez said.
It won’t be easy.
Organized crime is always involved in elections. In 2018, when President Andrés Manuel López Obrador was elected, 48 people who ran were killed. Security consulting firm Etellekt counted 543 aggressions against politicians. According to Rodríguez, there were a total of 150 murders with a particular political connection that year.
In December, former Jalisco governor Aristóteles Sandoval was shot dead in Puerto Vallarta. A potential candidate for mayor of the state of Quintana Roo on the Caribbean coast was killed in a cafe last week. Ignacio Sánchez Cordero was the local secretary of tourism in the city of Puerto Morelos.
But it’s not just murder. Candidates face kidnappings, threats to their families, extortion, burning of homes or businesses. Criminal groups also donate money and offer their own protection to their favorite candidates. They do whatever it takes to control candidates who can help them go unpunished.
“We know that the most sensitive level of government is municipalities, especially when the zone is affected by organized crime,” Rodríguez said. Criminals use fear campaigns to intimidate politicians and the general public.
The government has identified seven states, mostly in the south and along the Pacific coast, that face the greatest threats.