Mexico is in the final stretch of the campaign for the legislative, regional and local elections on 6 June and political violence has become the main actor in the country. Murders, kidnappings and armed attacks against candidates from different parties have marked the electoral agenda in the Latin American country.
On the afternoon of Tuesday 25 May, the murder of Movimiento Ciudadano candidate Alma Barragán in the Mexican state of Guanajuato took place. Barragán was campaigning in the communities of La Manguita and El Ombligo de Pájaro when she was gunned down, in fact she had just posted a video on her social networks to invite the inhabitants of the municipality to participate in her event. "Together we do it better," she said emotionally, shortly before a group of subjects approached her and fired their guns.
This murder marks 88 homicides in this electoral campaign that began in September, according to Etellekt Consultores, an organisation specialising in communication and risk management. In addition to the 34 homicides registered, the consultancy firm registers aggressions or threats against more than 450 candidates or aspirants to elected office.
Of those murdered, 34 were aspirants and candidates for elected office, 29 were running for municipal posts (mayors, councillors and councillors), and 89% of them were opponents of the mayors who govern in the municipalities they sought to govern or represent. Four other murdered aspirants and candidates were running for state deputies, also opposed to the state governments. And the remaining victim was an aspirant to a federal deputation, also opposed to the federal government. In terms of gender, 14 of the 88 people murdered were women.
This week alone, there was the aforementioned murder in Guanajuato of the candidate for the Moroleón municipal presidency, Alma Rosa Barragán, of Movimiento Ciudadano (MC), as well as the kidnapping in Michoacán of the candidate for mayor of Uruapan, Omar Plancarte, of the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico (PVEM). In addition to armed attacks against Jesús Arturo Galván, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in Tamaulipas, José Alberto Alonso, of Fuerza por México in Guerrero, Saraí Figueroa, of the PVEM in Guanajuato, and Hugo Bobadilla, of the Labour Party in Morelos.
According to the consulting firm Etellekt, this is the second bloodiest campaign since 2000, only 2018 was more brutal, when the current president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and his party, Morena, took power. "In this election we are going to surpass the overall aggression figures of 2018, in which we had 774 aggressions, this election in that sense will be the most violent since the year 2000, at least" pointed out Rubén Salazar, director of Etellekt.
Etellekt warns in its fourth report, published at the beginning of May, that political violence is an attack against democracy and compromises the integrity, independence and autonomy of future authorities. "There is a very poor democratic coexistence, between those who are governing and thinking of retaining power with respect to their opponents who aspire to those elected positions," Salazar said in an interview with Foro TV.
"It is very regrettable what happened yesterday. Our condolences to the relatives. It is a regrettable situation because it happened in the middle of the electoral process," the president lamented in his morning press conference.
In response to Barragán's murder, Clemente Castañeda, national coordinator of Movimiento Ciudadano, denounced the events and expressed his condolences and support for the relatives. "I am informed that a few moments ago our candidate for mayor of Moroleón, Alma Rosa Barragán, was murdered and two other people were injured. From MC we deeply regret the facts and we offer our solidarity and support to the relatives and victims," he wrote on social networks. For its part, the party published an official statement in which it condemns the crime and calls on the authorities to clarify the murder of its militant.
The Organisation of American States (OAS) Foreign Visitors Mission deployed to Mexico on Wednesday has expressed its concern about the level of violence during the campaign for the mid-term elections on 6 June. The OAS observers, led by Argentinean Santiago Cantón, called for "the eradication of violent discourse and aggressive rhetoric as a means of political contestation".
On 6 June, more than 93 million Mexicans are called to the polls to renew the Chamber of Deputies, 15 of the 32 governors, 30 local congresses and thousands of city councils in what are considered the largest elections in Mexico's history.
Coordinador de América Latina: José Antonio Sierra.