The mayoral candidate of Cutzamala de Pinzón, in the Mexican state of Guerrero, Marilú Martínez, who was kidnapped early this Wednesday (2), has been found alive, according to her party, the Citizen Movement.
Martínez had been taken away by an armed group with her family. Ruth Zavaleta, her co-religionist running for the government of Guerrero, posted on her social network that the candidate was doing well.
The two are competing in the elections scheduled for next Sunday (6), the most important in Mexican history, in which the leaders to more than 20,000 positions will be decided, including 15 state governments and 500 seats in the Chamber of Deputies.
But with the approach of the elections, the attacks against the candidates multiply. “This election season is the most violent in history. It is not possible that participating in politics means risking your life,” Martinez’s party said in a message on Twitter.
According to private consultant Etellekt, who studies election-time violence in Mexico, 782 attacks were recorded against politicians and candidates between September 2020 and May 2021. The incidents included attacks that killed 89 politicians, including 35 were candidates in the next election.
Statistics show an increase of 1% compared to the number of occurrences of the previous period (2017-2018), and a decrease of 41% in the number of deaths. Nevertheless, the current electoral cycle is considered by the consultancy firm as the second most violent of the historic series which began in 2000.
According to Etellekt, the federal government’s strategy to protect candidates has helped reduce the number of deaths over the past month. In May, nine politicians were assassinated, including four candidates. In April, there had been 15 deaths.
This investigation includes the case of Alma Barragán, who ran for town hall in Moroleón by the Citizen Movement, in the central state of Guanjuato, and was shot dead on May 25 in a campaign act.
Last Friday (28), Cipriano Villanueva, 65, was also shot dead. He was a candidate for the post of municipal councilor of Acapetahua by the Chiapas Unidos party.
Since December 2006, when the government launched a controversial drug operation, Mexico has recorded more than 300,000 murders, according to official figures which attribute the majority of these crimes to organized crime.
As well as being the biggest elections in Mexican history, Sunday’s election is significant as it marks the second half of Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s presidential term.
As the 500 House seats will be swapped, the president needs his base to function well to secure congressional support and have governability over the next three years. It is also important to elect regional authorities to help it rule a great country, even more in the face of a health crisis and an economic downturn.
With nearly 228,000 deaths, Mexico is the fourth country most affected by the pandemic in absolute numbers. The coronavirus is not, however, the main concern of the 126 million inhabitants, who have recorded a drop in cases and deaths since January.
According to a survey by El Financeiro newspaper, 13% of Mexicans considered Covid-19 to be a national problem in May, up from 42% in January and 56% in April 2020. In another survey by consulting firm Mitofsky, the fear of being a victim of crime far exceeded that of being infected with the virus -44.7% versus 17.8%, respectively.
While the coronavirus itself is no longer a concern, its economic impacts still worry Mexicans. A February estimate made by the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policies noted that the number of people living in poverty in the country has increased by 9.8 million since the onset of the health crisis.
The population complains about the lack of support from the government, which increased public spending by 0.3% in 2020, far from 23.8% in Brazil and 20.1% in Argentina, according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.