The historic elections this Sunday in Mexico, where the government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador will be put to the test, are also the most violent from recent history with more than 230 murders linked to politics, despite the protection plan promised by the president.
Since the electoral process began on September 7, the consulting firm Etellekt documented more than 780 attacks or crimes against politicians such as homicides, threats, kidnappings, robberies and intimidation in acts. The figure exceeds the 774 of the 2018 elections.
“Without a doubt, in global terms, this election will be the most violent since 2000,” says Rubén Salazar, director of Etellekt.
The consulting firm counts 89 murdered politicians, of which 35 were applicants or candidates, but also 99 public servants without militancy, 10 collaborators and 34 relatives of politicians, so the deaths exceed 230.
Almost 90% of the attacks correspond to the local sphere and 75% of the deceased were opponents of the government of their state, Salazar details.
Police and experts observe the rescue of a body in February, in the city of Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. Photo: EFE
A large part of those killed – 44% – were from the opposition alliance “Va por México”, the right-wing National Action Party (PAN), the former ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the center-left Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) .
“Yes, it is an expression not only of narcopolitics in our country, but of a true criminal state that is present in the three levels of government, not only in the municipal, in the state as well and in the federal,” says Salazar.
Complaints from the opposition
One of the candidates who obtained protection is Lía Limón, candidate of the opposition alliance “Va por México” for mayor Álvaro Obregón in Mexico City, where denounced political gender violence of his rival from the ruling National Regeneration Movement (Morena).
“It has been a constant attack of which we have reported to the authorities, as has happened in other states, there is a never before seen number of candidates who have lost their lives, it is not a single case, therefore enough is enough,” he says Limón in an interview with the EFE agency.
The headquarters of the Electoral Institute of the state of Chihuahua, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, is preparing for Sunday’s elections. Photo: REUTERS
The election comes after the two most violent years in Mexican history with 34,681 murders in 2019 and 34,554 in 2020.
For this reason, the candidate Limón considers that the political violence it is part of a general trend of insecurity that has reached the capital.
“In all the neighborhoods, on all the streets, people express being fed up with insecurity, living in fear and being fed up with living in fear and in poor conditions, that is why it is a priority issue to attend to,” he says.
The opposition also warned that López Obrador and his party attack the legitimacy of the autonomous National Electoral Institute (INE) to discredit and prosecute the contests they lose, like Álvaro Obregón.
“I have lived it firsthand and it seems unfortunate, I do believe in democracy, I do believe in the need to take care of our democratic institutions, I do believe that there can be a diversity of opinions and positions,” says Limón.
Violence without distinction
Despite the cruelty with the opposition, Etellekt also says that 29% of those killed were candidates for the ruling party Morena or allies.
The police also protected politicians such as Juan Antonio Magaña, candidate of the ruling Green Party for governor of Michoacán, where an unidentified group set his truck on fire.
“It does not matter from which political institute the victim is, events like these not only tarnish the electoral process, but also leave us very poorly placed in security, in the image we have of Mexico abroad, it seems that here is a no man’s land “says Magaña.
Despite the aggression, he was the only candidate to enter Aguililla, one of the most violent municipalities due to the war of the Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) cartels and La Nueva Familia Michoacana.
“It seems, if we see him in a boat soon, that only those of the Green Party here in Michoacán, we have received some type of injury of this nature, but that helps us to move forward, to encourage us,” he insists.
The elections this Sunday are the largest in the history of Mexico, and it was the most violent campaign. Photo: AFP
The attacks occur despite the protection plan of the Ministry of Security and Citizen Protection (SSPC), which did not respond to EFE’s query.
Helden de Paz, an international security consultant, sees positive that there is a plan for the first time, but thinks that “unfortunately it is failing.”
“I do not see indicators that tell us that in the next electoral cycle we are no longer going to face this type of problem, we are beginning to normalize violence in each election. It is no longer surprising that another candidate is killed,” he laments.
Mexico will have the largest elections in its history on June 6, when 93.5 million are called to renew the 500 federal deputies, 15 of 32 state governorships, 30 local congresses and 1,900 city councils.