Mexican mayoral candidate gunned down ahead of Sunday elections

 May 30, 2024

A Mexican mayoral candidate has been assassinated at a campaign rally, in a shocking act of political violence just days before the country's federal elections.

Alfredo Cabrera was executed at close range in the southern state of Guerrero.

The assassination happened in broad daylight and was captured on video, which showed the attacker approach from behind before firing several shots.

Mexican candidate murdered

Cabrera, who was meeting with supporters in the town of Coyuca de Benítez, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mexico is rife with political violence, often tied to the criminal drug cartels. The violence is escalating ahead of Sunday's elections for the presidency, Congress and local government.

At least 20 candidates, mainly for local office, have been killed since September according to official figures. In many cases, the violence has been tied to drug cartels battling over control of local governments.

Cabrera was part of a coalition of center-right opposition parties that is being led by businesswoman and senator Xóchitl Gálvez, one of the two leading candidates for the presidency.

She condemned Cabrera's murder, saying she had "no words to express the indignation I feel." She called Cabrera "a generous and upstanding man."

Ruling party blamed

Gálvez is running second in the polls behind Claudia Sheinbaum, the former mayor of Mexico City and an ally of outgoing socialist president Andrés Manuel López Obrador. The opposition PRI party accused Obrador's ruling Morena party of failing to protect candidates.

"It is a shame that the Morena government has not made even the slightest effort to guarantee the safety of the candidates and that this campaign ends violently," the party said.

Obrador's critics have accused him of going soft on crime with a "hugs not bullets" agenda, which aims to tackle the "root causes" of crime by reducing poverty.

“Are we going to continue with hugs, or are we going to apply the law to criminals?” Gálvez said at a rally Wednesday. “Mexico wants peace, wants tranquility.”

In separate attacks, mayoral candidate Ricardo Arizmendi was shot dead in Morelos state on Tuesday, while Gilberto Palomar, another mayoral candidate, was injured in a shooting at his home.

Organized crime in Mexico has a large impact on the United States, as well, which has suffered from an influx of deadly drugs like fentanyl.

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