The murders of political candidates for public office have become a constant in Mexico during the elections. Organized crime has managed to perpetuate itself and infiltrate electoral campaigns to dispose of the lives of those who seek to enter politics.
So far in this election season, over 85 candidates, male and female, have been assassinated by drug cartels and organized crime, according to Etellek Consultores. This includes 32 people whose homicides occurred before the start of the campaigns and excluding those who have been threatened, such as Zudikey Rodríguez, candidate for the municipal presidency of Valle de Bravo.
From abroad, the electoral climate in Mexico is presented as ” the bloody season” or “the bloodiest elections since 2018” in terms of assassinations.
The Wall Street Journal narrated a scene that is constantly repeated in the country based on the case of Abel Murrieta, candidate for the mayor of Ciudad Obregón, who was gunned down in the middle of a rally and his murderers quietly escaped.
“Even in a country with a history of electoral violence, this election season is shaping up to be the bloodiest in recent memory, having the smallest criminals and gangs vying fiercely to control local areas by intimidating or killing politicians,” wrote the journalists Juan Montes and José de Córdova.
Another of the chilling figures was exposed by Integralia, a Mexican consultant who reported that only from February to April 46 elected officials, members of political parties and/or candidates were assassinated, which represents an increase of 44% with respect to the elections held in 2018.
In addition, more than 60 candidates withdrew from the campaign due to the “spiral of violence and insecurity,” acknowledged the WSJ. Above all, they stressed that behind all the violence is “the changing dynamics of organized crime, who” once they have control of local governments, gangs also take a part of the tax money destined for public works.
The ability to control their territory also depends on the extent to which they control, threaten, and bribe the local mayor, police chief, and other senior officials.
The Financial Times assured that most of the victims are attributed to organized crime and its links with the Mexican political sphere. Above all, the British media stressed that the majority belonged to parties opposed to the current President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
Their deaths have exposed the deep-seated ties between organized crime groups and the local officials who protect them.
The Director of Etellek Consultores, Rubén Salazar, said that when someone confronts these groups, they “harass or kill you”, which implies that none of the candidates can run for public office without having the approval from the mayor or local crime boss.
This is directly connected to President López Obrador’s strategy based on “hugs, not bullets,” noted journalist Jude Webber. In addition to being part of a series of security challenges and “his repeated promises to achieve peace in a country where violence has exploded for 15 years and there are almost 100 murders a day.”