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Mexico Records 37 Political Assassinations Prior to Election

Photo : Reuters

In a tragic turn of events, Mexico's election season has descended into unprecedented bloodshed, marking it as the deadliest in modern history. The latest victim, Jorge Huerta Cabrera, seeking a council seat in Izucar de Matamoros, was fatally shot during a political rally in central Puebla state on Friday, as confirmed by the state prosecutor's office.

Cabrera's assassination brings the tally of murdered candidates to a staggering 37 ahead of Sunday's crucial vote. This surpasses the grim record set during the 2021 midterm election, wherein 36 candidates fell victim to violence, according to data from security consultancy Integralia.

The pervasive issue of violent crime has dominated Mexico's presidential contest, with the ruling party under scrutiny for the persistently high murder rate. Meanwhile, opposition voices seize upon the bloodshed to advocate for change, framing the election as a referendum on the government's handling of security issues.

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Amidst this turbulent climate, Claudia Sheinbaum, the ruling party's candidate, emerges as the frontrunner poised to potentially become Mexico's first female president.

Integralia researcher Armando Vargas suggests that violence may be strategically deployed to influence the election outcome, particularly when certain interests are perceived to be threatened by a particular political project's success.

The consultancy's data reveals a troubling surge in non-lethal attacks on candidates, totaling 828 incidents during the current election season, a stark increase from 749 recorded just days prior.

Analysts attribute Mexico's perilous electoral landscape to the convergence of powerful drug cartels and endemic corruption within local governments, amplifying the risks faced by candidates seeking public office.

Earlier in the week, another candidate, running for mayor in southern Guerrero state, met a similarly tragic fate, being gunned down during a campaign rally. Such incidents have prompted the government to provide security guards to 560 candidates and election officials due to ongoing threats.

The assassination of Jorge Huerta Cabrera was captured on video, further underscoring the chaos and danger prevailing within Mexico's political landscape as the nation braces for a pivotal election day.

June 1, 2024 3:28 p.m. 379

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