Murders Highlight Political Violence In Last Week Of Mexico’s Presidential Race
As Mexico prepares for its presidential and roughly 3,000 local elections on Sunday, political violence continues to plague parts of the country, with the fatal shooting of a candidate in the southern state of Oaxaca.
The candidate, Emigdio López Avendaño, was running for the state chamber of deputies in Oaxaca, and was traveling in a pick-up truck with two other members of his political party when they were ambushed and shot, according to local media reports.
López Avendaño’s and his colleagues’ homicides mark at least 123 political murders across Mexico since the campaign season started in September, according to a tally by Mexico City-based political consulting firm Etellekt.
The murders might sow fear among voters who might avoid political participation to avoid being targeted. Also, they destabilize political parties and highlight a lack of responsiveness from governmental offices tasked with protecting the integrity of elections, according to Amalia Pulido Gomez, a fellow at the Center for U.S. Mexican Studies at the University of California.
"Killing a candidate is not just giving a message to the political elite. It's also giving a message to the citizens,” Pulido said in an interview. “We can imagine that citizens will feel afraid of voting in the midst of violence."
Most political homicides in Mexico go unpunished. Presidential candidates have condemned the murders but offer few specifics on how they would prevent them.