Last updateFri, 16 Aug 2019 11am

Organized crime groups target mayors and politicians across Mexico

The recent slaying of progressive politician Alejandro Aparicio in Tlaxaxiaco, Oaxaca reflects how dangerous it can be for Mexican politicians. Aparicio assumed his role as the town’s governor for barely an hour and a half before two assailants shot him down while touring city hall on New Year’s Day.


Alejandro Aparicio was the mayor of Tlaxaxiaco, Oaxaca for less than two hours before his murder on New Year's Day.

The National Regeneration Movement (Morena) representative (the party in which Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador belongs to) was surrounded by supporters in Tlaxaxiaco's San Bartolo neighborhood when the incident occurred shortly after 11 a.m.

He later died of gun wounds at the IMSS hospital while two other officials, syndicate Perfecto Hernández and chancellor Cleotilde Santos, sustained injuries. Family members and political allies of Aparicio are demanding justice.

“We want to do everything possible to clarify this murder because there can be no impunity,” said Victoria Feria, Aparacio’s widow, during an interview with Democracy Now!. “That’s what we’re asking for as a family, to clarify the killing and to support us.”

Morena representatives were targeted well before López Obrador's election, even in Jalisco. In July 2018, former Tlaquepaque mayoral candidate, Zenón Cocula Fierros, was assassinated in the San Martín de las Flores neighborhood. Miguel García González, who aspired to be the municipal Morena president in Casimiro Castillo, was another party member murdered in July 2017 after receiving a series of anonymous threats. Nobody has been reprimanded for either of these crimes.

“What a time for scoundrels to cowardly attack governments elected by the people," said Yeidckol Polevnsky, national leader of Morena, who has previously demanded justice for the brutality against his party. In an online post, he said that "hatred and violence" won’t prevent López Obrador from improving the country.

Mayors throughout Mexico have always faced fierce retaliation from organized crime groups if interests don’t align, with Aparicio as 2019’s first slain public official. La Razón newspaper reported that 23 mayors perished in 2018, many of whom were calling for political reforms.

Numbers are even higher for everyday politicians or candidates in Mexico. According to Animal Politico, 101 politicians and candidates perished between September 6, 2017 and June 27, 2018.

Based on this report with data gathered from political and law enforcement groups, the state of Guerrero saw the most murders during this period with 20 recorded homicides of public officials. Oaxaca experienced the second-worst violence rate with 17 homicides and Puebla in third with 10.

Mexico saw 48 politicians succumb to violence during last year's presidential campaign, known as one of the most violent in the country's recent history. Once again, Guerrero had the most incidents with 14 deaths while four were recorded in Jalisco. As far as things go in Jalisco, political killings aren’t isolated incidents. The mayor of Tecalitlán died on July 2, 2018, a day after the general elections.

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