It was a sunny afternoon in the city of Ciudad Obregon in northwestern Mexico. Abel Murietta, who was running for mayor of the town of Cajeme, where the city is located, stood at a busy intersection in the mall, pressing leaflets on canvas during the June 6 election.
A man in a gray T-shirt and jeans climbed out, pulled out a pistol, fired 10 bullets at the former attorney general, including two on his head, and fled in a waiting car before crossing the street as Murrietta lay on the sidewalk. They were giving scattered leaflets wetting his white shirt with blood,
Murrietta was the 32nd candidate to be assassinated on the eve of the election, when Mexicans will elect 500 federal lawmakers, 15 governors, thousands of mayors and local officials.
Eighty-five politicians, including 32 running for office, have been killed since the election began last September, according to Etellekt Consultores, which pursues pre-election violenceThis makes it the second bloodiest election since the 2018 presidential election.
According to Etellekt, most of the victims were party mayoral candidates who opposed the states in those states. Their deaths severed deep ties between organized crime groups and “local officials defending them”.
“If you resist them, you will be persecuted or killed,” said Ruben Salazar, CEO of Etellekt. “This is a Mexican democracy at the local level. “No one can run for mayor without the permission of the local crime boss.”
Apparently, Murrietta was no exception. In: Posthumously released polling station, he stated that he “takes crime seriously. “I’m not afraid.” Ours Amer was shot dead and the alleged aggressor was spotted on an official street security camera in the state where former Lopez Obrador security minister is running for governor.
Political assassinations highlight challenges facing President Andres Manuel Lopez Obradorhugs, not bullets“The strategy to fight organized crime, its newly militarized federal police force, the repeated promises of peace in a country where violence has been on the rise for 15 years, there are almost 100 murders day.
Violence that is constantly circulating Mexico Since former President Felipe Calderon launched a catastrophic war on drugs in 2006, it has been a major electoral issue for Mexicans in many races. A poll conducted by El Financiero newspaper this month revealed that Two-thirds of people disagreed In the process of settling the issue by Lopez Obrador, who approves only 18%.
The number of homicides has tripled since 2006. The government says it has now slowed growth, reporting a 4 percent drop in homicides in the first four months of this year from a year earlier.
But there were 2,857 homicides in April, up 4 percent from April 2020, as well as 77 homicides by women, a 13 percent jump from the same month last year.
Murders in Mexico in 2019 reached the highest level of all time – 34 682 murders և 970 cases femicides“Last year was a little better. 34,554 homicides և 977 femicide. So far this year, 11,277 murders and 318 murders have been registered.
Ricardo Marquez Blas, a former security guard, said that dozens of times since Lopez Obrador took office, the number of murders has exceeded 3,000 a month, including femicide, compared to just three in the previous administration in 2012-18.
Lopez Obrador, who took office in 2018, says he has found another solution, addressing the root causes of the crime by offering young people jobs and scholarships instead of confronting the cartels directly.
Critics say he, like previous governments, has relied on the military instead of reforming state-local police forces in a country where officers earn about $ 600 a month, and half have to buy their shoes.
Former US Ambassador Christopher Landau criticizes Mexico’s strategy he said Lopez Obrador has taken a “rather open stance” on drug cartels, despite estimates that they control “35 to 40 percent of the country.”
“He sees the cartels. , as his Vietnam, which it was for some of his predecessors, I think. “He sees it as a deviation from focusing on his agenda,” he said during an online seminar.
It was reminiscent of “pax narca” – tolerance of cartel activities if their content was maintained, which reigned before the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) ruled Mexico for most of the 20th century.
“The president does not want to take on El Narco,” Salazar said, using Mexican term cartels.
He said that Lopez Obrador, who is considered to be trying to reproduce the centralized power of the PRI, “does not understand” that the old coexistence has broken down as the new parties disrupt the cozy criminal partnership and create new ones.
“The president does not want to realize that there is a big problem with drug policy in the country, which is moving forward in huge steps,” Salazar said, as politics and crime are mixed at the local level.
Analysts say the escalating atmosphere is exacerbated by the president’s daily press conferences, in which he criticizes his political opponents and the electoral authorities, which he says are biased.
“With all this pressure, far from fulfilling his promises of peace, he is giving us a more convulsive country,” said Gema Kloppe-Santamaria, a crime and violence expert at Loyola University in Chicago.
“Lopez Obrador has loaded these elections before declaring war on the electoral institutions. “My biggest concern is that what we are seeing now will not stop after June 6,” he said.