Alma Barragán is the latest victim. At the moment. A courageous candidate from the Ciudadian Movement had summoned her supporters via social media for a rally in Moroleón, the Mexican state of Guanajuato. The killers who murdered her were also waiting for her. Cruel and not isolated end in the election campaign for the mid-term vote, scheduled for June 6.
As always in Mexico, numbers say more than words. 88 politicians have already been killed and of these 34 were candidates for small and large municipalities. Fourteen women. With another key data: 89% challenged an opponent in power. And together with the ambushes, the assaults. 232 have been registered. There are those who have been threatened directly, with public warnings and transversal warnings. But also those who have been pilloried, with a noose around their neck, dragged into the street. Or mocked and slandered. There are so many ways to push an opponent out of the race, and gangsters have no problem doing it physically.
It is hell, without law and protection, in a country already torn apart by the other war, the one that opposes armed groups, police, narcos. Official budgets note almost 12,000 victims in these first five months, one of the hardest periods. And the Guanajuato region, where the murder of Alma Barragán took place, recorded over 300, confirming a dramatic and well-established trend. Abel Murrieta, another member of Movimiento Ciudadiano, fell under fire in Ciudad Obregon: he was in a shopping center for a meeting and was killed by a man who arrived behind him. He shot him ten times, with two shots aimed at the head. An execution.
The attacks are intense and frequent because the control of a municipality plays a fundamental role. It is the local base, it can become the bank for many businesses. And inevitably the suspicions focus on the mafia. Cartels are a threat, bosses team up with mayors and security officers, buy them, reward them. They make pacts to have control of the territory through which drugs, illegal immigrants, stolen fuel, and agricultural products are extorted. But this is only one aspect of a corrupt reality.
The order to “liquidate” people, however, can also come from figures not linked to the network of traffickers. There are smaller centers of power and individuals willing to do everything to ensure a victory even when they do not have sufficient consensus. They are the ones to hire hitmen to whom they entrust the “contract” placed on the rival’s head. It is a dangerous pyramid. It starts from the bottom, in a small village, and then reaches the top by climbing the institutional “ladder”. How many governors ended up on the wanted list. How many have accumulated hidden wealth abroad.
Polls reveal how public opinion is critical of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador: he had promised a change of pace and instead counts piles of deaths. An evident failure, however, made more bitter by the tones used by the president himself against critics, an unwise choice in an arena where there is already a propensity for settling of scores.
May 27, 2021 (change May 27, 2021 | 21:18)
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