The big picture: Mexican politicians being killed at staggering rates
Since September, 113 candidates, pre-candidates, and current and former politicians in Mexico have been killed ahead of its elections, according to Etellekt, a policy consultancy in the country — and there are still about two weeks to go.
Why it matters: The violence is not just killing people, it is acting as a deterrent to would-be politicians. About 600 candidates of different parties have backed out of running in the last few months out of fear for their safety, per BuzzFeed News.
- Volunteers haven’t been handing out flyers in Durango State because it has been too dangerous, Carlos Figueroa Ibarra, the head of human rights at Morena, the party leading presidential polls, told BuzzFeed News.
- The Party of the Democratic Revolution did not put forward candidates in parts of Sinaloa State due to lack of security.
Context: Although running for office is in Mexico is known to be a violent affair riddled with criminal gang violence, this year is possibly more violent because it is the largest election in the country's history — the number of open roles exceeds 3,400. There has also been an uptick in violence and murders more generally in Mexico due to the recent fragmentation of cartels.
- Zaragoza candidates’ houses and cars were burned in arson attacks.
- A candidate for town councilor, Liliana García, was killed and found dead in a creek bed.
- A candidate for municipal council in Juchitán, Pamela Terán, was killed, along with her father and photographer.
- A leader for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in Guerrero State, Paula Gutiérrez Morales, was shot on a bus in front of passengers.
- A candidate for local congress in Piedras Negras, Fernando Purón, was shot and killed while taking a selfie.
- A mayoral candidate, Alejandro Chavez Zavala, was shot and killed last week.
By the numbers: It’s not just about politics — Mexico is on track to pass 30,000 murders this year, which would transcend its record for murders last year.