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Dozens of Mexican politicians killed ahead of elections

·2-min read
Relatives and friends mourn Florisel Rios, a mayor who was murdered in Mexico's eastern Veracruz state in November 2020

At least 64 Mexican politicians have been murdered in the past six months, the government said Thursday, three months ahead of elections, which typically unleash a wave of politically motivated violence.

Politicians in the Latin American nation, particularly at the local level, often fall victim to bloodshed connected to corruption and the multi-billion-dollar drugs trade.

The government said it would boost security for candidates ahead of the June 6 national, regional and local polls.

"Organized and white-collar crime have a varied repertoire of actions to influence these elections, through strategies of complicity or violent pressure," said Security Minister Rosa Icela Rodriguez.

She said that 73 cases of political violence had been registered between September and February, including 64 murders.

"We're working to curb the increase in these crimes because criminal organizations seek to strengthen their operations through intimidation and increasing their political influence," Rodriguez told reporters.

The most common crimes targeting politicians are murder, kidnapping, threats against relatives, arson attacks on homes and extortion.

In November, Florisel Rios, a mayor in eastern Veracruz state, was kidnapped and killed.

In January, gunmen shot dead a regional congressman, Juan Antonio Acosta Cano, in central Guanajuato state, which like Veracruz is the scene of a deadly turf war between rival cartels.

Last month, Leobardo Ramos Lazaro, a mayor in the southern state of Oaxaca, was shot dead while travelling in his truck.

According to the consulting firm Etellekt, 153 politicians were murdered during a particularly bloody campaign for the 2018 elections, and 90 percent of the crimes remain unpunished.

More than 300,000 people have been murdered since the government deployed the military to fight drug trafficking in 2006, according to the authorities, who say most of the killings are linked to gang violence.