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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

With 399 victims, Mexico campaign violence is already at record

By Alex Vasquez Bloomberg News

Mexico’s election is already shaping up to be the most violent in the country’s modern history.

Almost 400 people connected to the races were affected by political violence – ranging from threats and kidnappings to murder – between Sept. 1 and April 1, according to a report by Mexico City-based consultancy Integralia. That includes violence toward 127 candidates, of which 24 were murdered. More than half of those killed have been candidates from the ruling Morena party.

Mexico is headed for the largest elections in its history on June 2, with 20,367 positions up for selection, including the country’s president, eight governorships and 628 congresspeople, in addition to numerous local positions.

As the campaigns ramp up, escalating violence has been making headlines. Most recently, Gisela Gaytan, Morena’s candidate for mayor of Celaya in the state of Guanajuato, was shot dead during a campaign rally in an incident that was caught on video, shocking the nation.

“If the violence continues in the remaining two months of the campaign, the process could close with more than 500 victims of political violence, mainly associated with the intervention of organized crime in the election,” said Armando Vargas, consultant at Integralia who coordinated the report.

Besides murders, the most common aggressions are threats, attacks with firearms, kidnappings and disappearances, according to the report. Candidates make up 32% of the aggressions, followed by government officials and former government officials, politicians and former politicians, and finally family members.

Violence is concentrated in the west and center of the country, with Guerrero, Michoacan and Morelos being the states with more victims.