Another Mayoral Candidate Shot Dead in Guanajuato, Mexico

What You Need to Know:

Another Movimiento Regeneración Nacional (Morena) Party Mayoral candidate, Bertha Gaytan, was shot dead by an armed group while campaigning in the Guanajuato City of San Miguel Octopan on Monday. 

The murder of Mrs Gaytan follows that of Jaime González Pérez, Mayoral candidate for the city of Puebla on March 23rd and Miguel Zavala, Mayoral candidate for Maravatio city on February 26th. 

The Details:

As previously reported, the Morena party has ruled Mexico since 2018, and is Mexico’s largest political party in terms of registered members. However, with the nation’s general election occurring on the 2nd of June this year, the murders of political candidates signal the cartel’s attempts at ensuring ‘cartel-friendly’ politicians are selected to rule the various cities and regions in which they operate. 

The June election will select a new President to rule for a period of six years, as well as elect new members for the 500-seat Chamber of Deputies, and 128 members for the Senate of the Republic. 

Additionally, on March 19th, Regional Police Commissioner for Michoacan State, Kristel García Hurtado, was decapitated by armed assailants alongside her bodyguards. In November 2023, Dagoberto García Rivera, the Morena Party’s leader in Michoacan State was found dead. 

So, What Now?:

Scores of Mayoral candidates have withdrawn their applications to run in the country’s upcoming elections due to the uptick in violence, which unfortunately plays into the hands of the cartels. 

A common tactic of violent narco-trafficking groups is to use fear and the threat of violence to ensure their trafficking routes are not encroached upon. The groups do this by installing by force a ‘cartel-friendly’ politician in their city or region. 

Currently, Mexico is witnessing a wave of violence, particularly in Michoacan and Puebla States. The murder of Mrs Gaytan, occurred in Guanajuato, Michoacan’s neighboring State. 

This recent string of murders signals the cartels are intent on consolidating power in Michoacan state and its surrounding areas. Currently, the Sinaloa Cartel, La Familia Michoacana, Los Viagras, and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) are all known to operate out of Michoacan. 

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Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger is a Political Science Graduate from the University of Otago, New Zealand. Currently working as an Editor for The ModernInsurgent and writing for Atlas News, her interests include conflict politics, history, yoga and meditation.