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Electoral violence in southern Mexico leaves 14 dead in a few days

Photo: Ginnette Riquelme Associated Press Violence has intensified in Mexico in the run-up to June 2 elections, as armed groups seize territorial power, eliminating candidates and terrorizing civilians.

Published yesterday at 9:34 p.m.

  • Americas

Attacks on political candidates in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas have left at least 14 dead in recent days, local authorities and candidates announced on Sunday.

The latest attack targeted, early Sunday, the car driven by Nicolás Noriega, candidate for head of the municipal government of the city of Mapastepec. Mr. Noriega confirmed the attack to The Associated Press and said he was injured and at least five people on his team were shot and killed.

The man, who is running for Morena, the ruling party, did not add further details, visibly shaken after the attack.

The Chiapas prosecutor's office confirmed the attack. Photos shared by local media showed a red truck peppered with bullet holes and bloodied bodies lying in the trunk and on the ground.

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“I deeply mourn the deaths of my friends, whose lives were cowardly taken. Evil will never reign in our hearts, because more of us love life, think about doing good,” Noriega said in a Facebook post on Sunday. “I ask all of society to come together to honor life. »

The state of Chiapas has recently descended into violence as Mexico's two main cartels battled for control of the neighboring Guatemala border and a increasingly lucrative route for migrant and drug trafficking.

Violence has intensified in Mexico in the run-up to June 2 elections, as armed groups seize territorial power, eliminating candidates and terrorizing civilians.

At least 134 people have been killed this year in politically motivated attacks, according to Data Civica, 24 of whom were political candidates.

On Thursday, a man opened fire at a campaign rally in a small town about 125 kilometers from the Guatemalan border, killing six people, including a young girl and a mayoral candidate, Lucero López Maza. Two other people were injured, officials said.

On Saturday, the Chiapas prosecutor's office also confirmed an attack against another member of the Morena party, Robertony Orozco, candidate for mayor of the town of Villa Corzo. He was attacked while driving on a highway near the city. There were three deaths and two injuries, including Mr. Orozco. Prosecutors said they were investigating the attack and provided security for the candidate.

This shooting took place near Chicomuselo, where 11 civilians were killed on May 13. It is also in this same area that Morena's presidential candidate, Claudia Sheinbaum, was intercepted in April by masked men during a tour of the Guatemalan border.

Due to its geographic location, Chiapas is one of the three Mexican states with the highest levels of electoral violence, with 55 victims so far, according to Mexican consultancy Integralia. It is behind only Guerrero and Michoacán, two states at the heart of the Mexican cartel war.

The surge in violence in Chiapas proved embarrassing for President Andrés Manuel López Obrador as he visited the state Friday for a meeting with Guatemalan President Bernardo Arévalo.

Mr. Obrador has refused to take on drug cartels and has largely downplayed the problem of violence.

“There are those who argue that Chiapas is on fire . No, as I explained, the problem is in this region and we are going to solve it,” he said during a press briefing in Tapachula, Chiapas, on Friday.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116