Mayors In The Crosshairs
His party said issued a statement saying that Fernando Angeles Juarez was assassinated, and called on the government to provide protection for people running in the July 1 elections.
Ocampo is a rural township about 95 miles (150 kilometers) west of Mexico City best known for the Monarch butterfly wintering grounds that occupy part of the mountainous municipality. It also been plagued by illegal logging and gangs.
Almost all of the 18 candidates killed across the country so far have been running for local posts in the July 1 elections, which will also decide the presidency, governorships and Congress. Other politicians who were considering a run have been killed before they could even register as candidates. The killings have particularly hit states like Michoacan, Guerrero and Oaxaca.
Since 2006—the year in which the Mexican War on Drugs started under President Felipe Calderón—108 mayors have been murdered, of which 50 were in office, nine were mayors-elect and 49 were former officials. Just this year, 18 mayors were killed—the worst rate since 2010—according to data from the National Association of Mayors, an organization that currently has 479 mayors as members.
“These deaths have a lot to do with organized crime, mainly drug cartels, because they’re trying to control drug-trafficking areas,” Association President Enrique Vargas del Villar, who is also mayor of Huixquilucan in Mexico State, told Newsweek. “But it also has to do with the lack of public force presence in smaller municipalities and scarce institutional development.”
Mayors have suffered the brunt of violence during the Enrique Peña Nieto administration. A total of 59 mayors have been killed in a span of four years during his term, compared to 49 murdered during the entire six-year Calderón term, the data indicates. The states of Durango, Oaxaca, Michoacán and Veracruz are considered the most dangerous for mayors, according to the study.
Seven years ago, the people of Cherán — a town of some 20,000 inhabitants in the highlands of Michoacán, one of the Mexican states worst-affected by the drug wars of the last decade — decided it was time to start over. And now, after they’ve kicked out all the criminals, cops, and politicians, things couldn’t be going better.
The town had been terrorized for years by an organized crime syndicate devoted to illegally logging the surrounding forests. So after mobs drove out the criminals, they disarmed and drove out the corrupt cops who had protected them. Then they banned the politicians, along with the parties that put them in power.