The Mexican Election Is a “Mad Max” Nightmare

Joe Scudder
Written by Joe Scudder

Running for office in the next Mexican election has resulted in a three-digit body count.

The level of violence, chaos, and death leading up to the Mexican election, still a couple of weeks away, has been staggering.

Supposedly, most of the violence is in the south. But only 200 miles from El Paso, a group of “commandos” went on a rampage of shooting and arson, murdering one of the local candidates.

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BuzzFeed New reports, “113 Politicians Have Been Killed Ahead Of Mexico’s Election. There Are Still Two Weeks To Go.

It has been a brutal electoral season, even by Mexico’s violent standards.

At least 113 candidates, pre-candidates, and current and former politicians have been killed and 300 more have suffered some form of aggression since September, according to Etellekt, a Mexico City–based public policy consultancy. Even the government’s tally — 34, which considers only candidates — pushes this particular death toll to nearly four per month.

Astonishing as these numbers are, they only tell part of the story: There are hundreds of candidates who have backed out of their races out of fear for their safety, and many others who have curbed their campaign activities. This poses a significant challenge to Mexico’s relatively young democracy, already crippled by systemic corruption and widespread impunity.

“Violence is altering the profile of candidates,” Alejandro Hope, a security analyst, told BuzzFeed News. “Who sticks around? The reckless and those who collude [with criminals].”

The attacks have been brazen. Last month, several commandos went around Ignacio Zaragoza, a town of less than 7,000 people about 200 miles southwest of El Paso, Texas, burning houses and cars belonging to several local candidates. They killed Liliana García, who was running for town councilor. In a video circulating on social media, a large plume of smoke is seen coming out of a building in broad daylight while a woman weeps in the background. In another, rapid gunfire is heard on an empty street.

Less than three weeks ago, Paula Gutiérrez Morales, a local leader of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, in a tiny community in Guerrero State, was shot inside a public bus in front of other passengers.

On Friday, Fernando Purón, a candidate for local congress, was shot while posing for a selfie in Piedras Negras, just west of Eagle Pass, Texas, after an election debate.

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About the author

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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