Another Mayoral Candidate Assassinated in Mexico Amid Election Season Marred by Violence

Wim De Gent
By Wim De Gent
March 15, 2024Americas
Another Mayoral Candidate Assassinated in Mexico Amid Election Season Marred by Violence
Security forces patrol the streets days after the murder of Armando Perez Luna, a mayor candidate murdered in Maravatio, Michoacan state, Mexico on Feb. 27, 2024. (Enrique Castro/AFP via Getty Images)

Election violence in Mexico continues to escalate as another mayoral hopeful was assassinated—as more than 20 candidates and elected politicians have been assassinated this month.

Prosecutors in the southern Mexican state Guerrero said Tomas Morales Patrón, an aspiring mayoral candidate for the city of Chilapa de Álvarez, was shot in the head twice outside his home late Tuesday by an unknown gunman.

Mr. Morales, who was expected to run as a candidate for President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s Morena Party, had not yet been named as an official candidate, though he was considered a favorite.

Chilapa de Álvarez, a small city 100 miles northeast of Acapulco, has been the scene of bloody turf battles between competing drug gangs for more than a decade. But the violence ahead of the June 2 national elections has not been limited to one region of Mexico.

On Wednesday, the official Mexican electoral agency reported 109 cases of violence related to the upcoming elections. From June 2023 up to March 2024, the agency counted 43 murders of political figures, more than half of which happened this month, according to El Universal.

Those assassinated include local party leaders, elected officials, and 21 political candidates.

The agency also counted 18 attacks, 43 cases of threats, and five kidnappings.

The number of assassinations has escalated since the murder of Alfredo González at the beginning of this month. The mayoral contender in the town of Atoyac, some 50 miles east of Acapulco, was gunned down on March 3 while traveling in a vehicle.

In late February, two mayoral hopefuls in the town of Maravatío, in the neighboring state of Michoacán, were killed by gunmen 7 hours apart, just days before the campaign officially kicked off.

One, Miguel Ángel Zavala, a candidate for the governing Morena party, was shot in his car by two suspects. The other, Armando Pérez Luna, belonged to the conservative National Action Party. He was shot at a food stand by a gunman on a motorcycle. Both men were shot with 9 mm caliber guns.

In November, another mayoral hopeful from Maravatío was abducted and later found dead.

On Feb. 10, Yair Martín Romero, a congressional candidate for the Morena party in a suburban district of Mexico City, was shot with his brother in the street. Both men died in the attack. One suspect was arrested.

On Jan. 5, the local leader of the Institutional Revolutionary Party and candidate for mayor of Suchiate, Chiapas, was killed while riding his motorcycle near the border of Guatemala.

The same day, Sergio Hueso, a mayoral candidate of the Citizen Movement party in Armeria in the northwestern state of Colima, was fatally shot by multiple gunmen while in his vehicle.

Threats and violence directed at Mexican politicians typically originate from drug cartels, who seek to gain control over local law enforcement or even to extort money from municipal governments.

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