A man threw a decapitated head at a polling center in Terrazas del Valle, a neighborhood in Tijuana, a town on the US-Mexico border, during Sunday’s election (6). Pursued by police, he managed to escape, but left behind plastic bags containing human remains, including several hands.
In Metepec, Mexico State, a group of 20 men broke into another polling center and destroyed some halls. The ballot boxes were not stolen, but many of them were destroyed. There were overturned doors and precipitation. Some people have been injured, but no official number has been released.
The incidents are part of one of the most violent midterm elections to have taken place in Mexico in recent times. According to consultant Etellekt, 91 politicians have already been killed, most of them in opposition to the parties in power in the regions.
On Wednesday (2), Marilú Martínez, candidate for mayor of Cutzamala de Pinzón, in the southern state of Guerrero, was kidnapped but later found alive. On May 28, Cipriano Villanueva, candidate for the post of municipal councilor of Acapetahua by the Chiapas Unidos party, was shot dead. Three days earlier, Alma Barragán, candidate for mayor of Moroleón through the Citizen’s Movement of the Central State of Guanjuato, had been shot dead in an act with residents.
This Sunday’s election will define the 500 new members of the Mexican Chamber of Deputies, in addition to the 21,000 regional positions: governors, mayors and local legislators. Violence is concentrated in regional votes, as in these conflicts drug cartels fund politicians and different gangs compete for control of legal and illegal businesses.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his wife, Beatriz Gutiérrez Müller, voted at the National Palace in Mexico City. They drew attention when they came and went without a mask – they put on some protection just to enter the building.
López Obrador is one of the populist leaders who downplay Covid-19. The country has, since the start of the pandemic, 2.4 million cases and 228.7 thousand deaths.
The Mexican president did not speak and just shouted: “Long live democracy” when he left. His party, the leftist Morena (Movement for National Regeneration) fears the projection of polls which show a possible decrease in its presence in Parliament, even if the tendency is that it remains the main political force in the country.
Former presidential candidate Ricardo Anaya, from the opposition PAN (National Action Party), shared photos of his vote on his social networks, along with his children and his wife, also in Mexico City. “It was the best time this year, let’s all vote,” he wrote. Anaya wore a mask.
The Under-Secretary for Health (equivalent to the Minister of Health in Brazil), Hugo López-Gatell, went to vote, also masked, and declared that “the election is an individual right, but also a collective responsibility”. On his Twitter account, he asked Mexicans to “go out and vote with a mask, alcohol gel and keeping their distance”.