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Two Mexican mayoral contenders found dead on same day

In News, World
April 20, 2024

Killing of Noe Ramos Ferretiz in Tamaulipas and of Alberto Garcia in Oaxaca bring to 17 the number of slain candidates ahead of June 2 polls.

Two mayoral contenders have been found dead in a single day in Mexico, adding to the toll of slain candidates in what is shaping up to be the country’s most violent election on record.

The deaths reported in different parts of the country on Friday bring to 17 the number of candidates killed in the lead-up to the presidential, congressional and local polls on June 2.

In the northern state of Tamaulipas, authorities said they had launched a manhunt for the person who killed candidate Noe Ramos Ferretiz. He was seeking re-election as mayor of Ciudad Mante for a coalition of the opposition National Action Party and Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

Local media reported he had been stabbed and posted photos showing a bloodied body lying on a sidewalk.

“We will not allow violence to decide these elections,” PRI party leader Alejandro Moreno wrote on social media, where he confirmed the “cowardly assassination” of Ramos Ferretiz.

The second slain candidate, Alberto Garcia, was found dead a day after he was reported missing. He was running for mayor of San Jose Independencia in the southern state of Oaxaca.

The state electoral board condemned the death of Garcia, who went missing along with his wife, the current mayor of San Jose Independencia and and who was found alive. The board called Garcia’s death a “killing”, and said such crimes “should not occur during elections”.

Bodyguards for candidates

Violence linked to organised crime in Mexico has long killed politicians from various parties, especially those who hold or are seeking regional positions.

Drug cartels have often carried out such assassination attempts in a bid to control local police or extort money from municipal governments.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador acknowledged in early April that the cartels often seek to determine who will serve as mayor – either by running their own candidates or eliminating potential rivals.

“They make an agreement and say, ‘this person is going to be mayor; we don’t want anyone else to register to run’, and anybody who does, well, they know [what to expect],” he said.

The recent slayings have prompted the government to provide bodyguards for about 250 candidates, while those running for municipal positions – the most endangered – are the last in line for security.

Earlier this month, candidate Bertha Gaytan was shot dead on the first day of her campaign. She was running for mayor of Celaya, a city in the north-central state of Guanajuato.

Also in April, the mayor of Churumuco, a town in the western state of Michoacan, was shot dead at a taco restaurant in the state capital, Morelia.

In late February, in another town in Michoacan, two mayoral hopefuls were shot dead within hours of each other.

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