Political Violence Continues in Mexico Days Before Historic Election

By LG Staff

By LG Staff

June 6, 2024

Another local political candidate has been murdered in Mexico just days before a historic presidential election, underscoring the country’s surge in political violence.

On Wednesday, mayoral candidate José Alfredo Cabrera Barrientos was shot and killed in Coyuca de Benítez, Guerrero state, during his campaign’s closing rally. This tragic event occurred as all political candidates wrapped up their campaigns, entering a legally mandated “reflection period” for voters.

The suspected assailant was “killed at the scene,” according to a statement from the Guerrero state attorney general’s office, which is investigating the incident.

Cabrera Barrientos was a member of the Broad Front for Mexico opposition coalition, which includes the conservative National Action Party (PAN), the progressive Democratic Revolution Party, and the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

His death is the latest in a series of violent attacks on political figures since Mexico’s electoral process began in September. According to Integralia, a public affairs consulting firm, there have been at least 749 reported incidents of political violence, including the murders of 231 individuals, 34 of whom were political candidates. The firm’s analysis also reported armed attacks, assaults, kidnappings, disappearances, and threats against candidates, officials, and their families.

This marks a 150% increase in political violence victims compared to the last election cycle, which concluded in 2021.

This violence comes as Mexico prepares for the largest election in its history on Sunday, with votes being cast for all 628 seats in both chambers of Congress and tens of thousands of local positions, as reported by the National Electoral Institute.

As security remains a primary concern for voters, Mexico’s leading presidential candidates, Claudia Sheinbaum and Xóchitl Gálvez, officially ended their campaigns on Wednesday.

One of these women is poised to become Mexico’s first female president, with Jorge Álvarez Máynez of the Citizen Movement party trailing significantly in the polls.

Sheinbaum, representing the governing party Morena, which was founded by her mentor, outgoing President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, concluded her campaign with a nationalistic speech in Mexico City’s central square. She pledged to continue López Obrador’s policy of offering apprenticeships to deter youth from joining drug cartels.

“We will deepen the strategy of peace and security and the progress that has been made,” Sheinbaum declared. “This is not an iron fist policy. This is justice.”

Gálvez, from the Broad Front for Mexico coalition, criticized López Obrador’s “hugs not bullets” policy, which avoids direct confrontation with drug cartels that have taken over large parts of the country. She promised to unite a nation polarized by López Obrador’s rhetoric, stating, “Enough division, enough hatred. We are all Mexicans.”

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