Time to be cautious: 88 politicians have been killed in Mexico since September 2020
Political violence has been surging more than ever. After the recent shooting of Alma Barragan, a mayoral candidate in Mexico, who was shot dead in public has raised many concerns and alarming opinions that why the change-makers of the country are being targeted and killed so brutally.
On Tuesday, May 25, Barragan shared her live location on her Facebook account so to increase audience participation in the event but little did she know, how this marketing stint will cost her own life only. She campaigning in the city of Moroleon, in the violence-plagued state of Guanajuato, and was a relative newcomer to politics. Also, running as a member of the Citizen’s Movement Party, she had encouraged prospective voters to meet her to hear her policy proposals.
The pressing issue of the hour is that she was the third candidate from the party who has been killed in the last 15 days and since the start of the election season last year, 88 politicians have been killed. President of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador comments on this incident by saying that criminal gangs are behind these killings. They are killing candidates to intimidate voters, and Barragan’s murder was without a doubt the work of organized criminals.
Apart from Barragan, other candidates who have been targeted with violence include Abel Murrieta and Cristina Delgado. Even Murrieta was a mayoral candidate and former prosecutor in Ciudad Obregon. And per his last campaign video, he talked about pursuing a tough check on criminal activities. Unfortunately, the man was brutally was shot ten times in the face, neck and chest in mid-May while handing out leaflets on a crowded street corner.
Sensing the terror in the air, Cristina Delgado, who had been planning a mayoral campaign in Oaxaca but she withdrew her candidacy. She received a death threat alongside a severed pig’s head in January. Just like her, more than 60 candidates for mayor have withdrawn from campaigning amid threats and violence. Of those that remain in their races, 150 candidates have received protection from the government since early April. It was noted that the majority of political murders in past one year have been of candidates and nominees running for local positions.
As drug cartels and big gangs are looking to place sympathetic candidates in towns and cities to expand their influence, operate without police obstruction, and extort money from local businesses with impunity. Thus, they are after the killings of the candidates. Guanajuato, this state of Mexico has been seen as one of the most deadly city. They have registered 4,750 homicides in 2020, and 1,263 in the first four months of 2021.